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August 12, 2009

Casual Conquest and Curtain Call Clash at the Curragh

The Royal Whip Stakes is the feature event on a splendid programme of racing at the Curragh next Sunday 16th August and the Group Three contest has attracted a high quality field. Included among the 11 entries are Casual Conquest and Curtain Call, while Aidan O’Brien has a five-strong entry.

Casual Conquest proved a big disappointment when, sent off at odds on, he could only manage third place behind She’s Our Mare and Lord Admiral at Leopardstown last time, but prior to that Dermot Weld’s four-year-old showed his true colours when landing the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup over this course and distance in May. Curtain Call, fourth in the Irish Derby here last year, landed a Group Three event over this course and distance back in May and has been far from disgraced in two subsequent outings.

Aidan O’Brien can choose between Peter Tchaikovsky, Post, Red Rock Canyon, Rockhampton and Set Sail. The first mentioned looked on good terms with himself when landing a conditions race at Limerick last month on his seasonal reappearance and he could prove best of the Ballydoyle quintet. Jim Bolger has entered two in the hat-trick seeking Shreyas and Via Galilei, while Lord Admiral and Deauville Vision complete the line up.

Regular visitor Benbaun tops the list of 14 entries for the Group Three Patrick P O’Leary Memorial Phoenix Sprint Stakes. Kevin Ryan’s sprinter is a multiple winner at the venue over the years and bids to land his second successive success here following his Group 3 victory in late June. Benbaun is one of five British-trained entries for the six furlong contest and is joined by Doncaster Rover, Icelandic, Orpsie Boy and Strike The Deal. The home team, meanwhile, is headed by recent course winner Girouette, Snaefell and Miss Gorica

The Group 3 Desmond Stakes is probably the most competitive contest on the seven race programme and has attracted an entry of 22, including three from Britain in Border Patrol, Bushman and Lovelace. Aidan O’Brien has entered seven for the mile contest, while Dermot Weld has entered his fast improving four-year-old Famous Name. The latter was most impressive when landing a Group Three contest here last month and Weld will be hopeful that the son of  Dansili can continue his progress on Sunday.

The first of seven races at the Curragh on Sunday commences at 2.15 pm and the ground is currently yielding.