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March 30, 2011

St Nicholas Abbey to make his return at the Curragh this Sunday

THE Curragh hosts it’s second fixture of the new Flat season to coincide with Mother’s Day this Sunday and there is little doubt that St Nicholas Abbey is the star attraction of the day when he makes his much anticipated return to action in the Listed Alleged Stakes.

Out of action since finishing sixth behind Makfi in the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas last May, Aidan O’Brien’s colt showed exceptional ability as a juvenile and team Ballydoyle have had to be patient with the son of Montjeu in getting him back to the racecourse. He faces a maximum of 14 rivals in Sunday’s 10 furlong contest and a big performance is expected from him.

The Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes tops the bill on a competitive eight race programme and the Group Three contest has attracted a quality field headed by the Tommy Stack-trained Lolly For Dolly, which was most impressive when landing the Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes at the opening fixture here just over a week ago.

Lolly For Dolly, winner of the Group Three Oratario EBF Athasi Stakes at this venue last May, faces a maximum of 10 rivals in Sunday’s race including Termagant and Paraphernalia who finished fourth and fifth respectively behind her in that Curragh contest nine days ago. Emulous, Luisant and Across The Rhine are three other notable home-trained entries, while Regal Parade and The Cheka are both likely to travel over from Britain to contest the seven furlong race.

Trainer Jim Bolger has a strong hand in the Listed Anne Brewster Memorial Loughbrown Stakes with four of the 10 entries. Whipless, third behind leading Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas fancy Dunboyne Express at Leopardstown over the weekend, heads Bolger’s list of four while he can also choose from Deire Na Sli, Gleadhradh and Glor Na Mara. Sing Softly, Imperial Home and Triple Eight are other notable entries for the seven furlong contest.

The Rockview Qualified Riders Flat Race heralds the final in the amateur rider series and the race has attracted 20 entries. Champion National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins is well represented here with the hat-trick seeking Samain and Lovethehigherlaw, while Black Benny, He’s A Delight, Whatwillwecallher, Shadow Eile and Cheltenham bumper disappointment Double Double are all sure to have their followers.

The first of eight races at the Curragh on Sunday commences at 1.55 pm and the ground is currently good to yielding on the round course and yielding on the straight course.