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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 22nd July 2023

Curragh Racecourse credit: Newmarket Grandstand credit Julian Herbert/PA Wire

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from The Curragh, Newmarket & Newbury

The Curragh

Jebel Ali Racecourse And Stables Anglesey Stakes (Group 3) 2.00
Pearls And Rubies
Aidan O’Brien can score in the first of the Pattern races on Oaks day with Pearls And Rubies, who did enough in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot to line up as favourite for this. She just bumped into a good one in that Listed contest from fellow Irish raider Gavin Cromwell’s yard, but has a decent chance of Group success here, with Willie Browne’s Buyin Buyin the chief threat this time. A good race in store with Pearls And Rubies to sparkle

Paddy Power Scurry Handicap (Premier Handicap) 2.35
Aussie Girl
Fozzy Stack might hold the key to this Premier Handicap with Aussie Girl in a hot race. The Starspangledbanner filly lines up on a featherweight mark, and has been progressive here at headquarters in a busy campaign, where this is her eighth start. Jamie Powell’s 5lb claim should come in useful, and Aussie Girl likes to go forward so stall 10 should suit. Super each-way claims on a track she clearly likes

Barberstown Castle Sapphire Stakes (Group 2) 3.10
Art Power (nap)
It is fascinating to see Art Power return once more to his roots and line up at The Curragh. Every time he returns home from his Yorkshire base, the grey gelding puts in a top-class performance, and is now three from three on this track. The drop to five furlongs is just what he wants, and has to be the one to beat from an ideal draw in stall 5

Juddmonte Irish Oaks (Group 1) (Fillies) 3.45
It’s hard to ignore the appeal of Savethelastdance for the feature, considering her great run in The Oaks at Epsom last month. Only finding Soul Sister too good for that Classic, she gave notice of her potential and can go one better here, with stablemate Warm Heart and British raider Bluestocking rating the main dangers. Progressive this term, with two wins from her three starts, and the one to follow here

Comer Group International Curragh Cup (Group 2) 4.20
Rosscarbery (nb)
A fascinating renewal where a case can be made for Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Emily Dickinson and Gooloogong, but the preference is for Paddy Twomey’s Rosscarbery. The Sea The Stars mare has form over Emily Dickinson from their clash in the Stanerra Stakes at Leopardstown last year, and confirmed that order in the Champions Fillies’ & Mares Stakes in October, the pair filling fifth and sixth spot. She has returned a better model this year, winning the Munster Oaks before a fine fourth in the Pretty Polly here three weeks ago, despite not getting a clear run at the smart winner, Via Sistina. Back up in trip here, and more than capable of landing this


Ric And Mary Hambro Aphrodite Fillies’ Stakes (Listed) (Fillies’ & Mares) 4.15
Karl Burke did well with his Lope De Vega filly last season, signing off with a runners-up spot in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile here at headquarters. She showed that she had trained on when a 4 length second to subsequent Oaks winner, Soul Sister, in the Musidora at York, though never got involved next time out at Chantilly in the Prix de Diane, forced wide and finding little after the home turn. Less on her plate here, and with better ground, sure to be in the mix


bet365 Stakes (Listed) 2.50
Al Aasy
He seemed to be in need of the run after fourteen months off the track when trailing in last of five at Newmarket three weeks ago, but is given another chance here. He’s a dual course winner here at Newbury, and if he’s retained any of the potential from two seasons back has to be feared here with his sights lowered. Jim Crowley is back up in the saddle to get Al Aasy into a nice rhythm, and he’s the one to beat

bet365 Hackwood Stakes (Group 3) 3.00
Ralph Beckett’s Zoustar filly was one of the top Juveniles last term, only losing out to subsequent 1,000 Guineas winner Mawj in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket. She failed to land a blow in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last time out, but is entitled to come on for that run, with this course likely to suit. Frankie Dettori returns to the saddle and she should be too good for Commanche Falls to give her 8lbs. Go close

Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes 3.35
Relief Rally
This looks a straight showdown between William Haggas’s Relief Rally and Eve Johnson Houghton’s Bobsleigh. Preference is for Relief Rally though, as the Kodiac filly did all but win the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, just failing to reel in American raider Crimson Advocate. Bobsleigh tends to make his move late in the race, so might find this 5 furlong sprint all happening a bit too quickly, so Relief Rally gets the nudge

British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap 5.20
Sparks Fly
She has been a revelation since switched to turf, winning six on the bounce, and lines up here in search of a remarkable seven-timer. However, it’s been a busy year, with eleven starts already, so the fire will one day burn itself out. That said, she’s gone from 0-60 rating races to this level, and hasn’t shown any signs of fading yet. Fascinating to see if she can win once again, and has already handsomely repaid her connections, so gets the vote to continue the great run

The Mandarin

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