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Godolphin aces in Joel Stakes showdown

Benbatl and Master Of The Seas clash in a fascinating renewal of the Unibet “You’re On” Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

The pair are both owned by Godolphin but represent different stables, with Saeed bin Suroor training Benbatl and Master Of The Seas in the care of the red-hot Charlie Appleby.

They are also from completely different generations, with Benbatl, who has performed with great credit all over the world, firmly in the older horse bracket, while Master Of The Seas has been off since finishing runner-up in the 2000 Guineas to Poetic Flare.

Benbatl returned from almost a year off to be narrowly beaten in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and he can be expected to come on for the run.

“He has done well since his last race and he’s in good form,” said Bin Suroor.

“He ran a big race in the Celebration Mile after missing the break from the stalls.

“This has been his target since Goodwood and his last piece of work was very good.

“It’s going to be a good race, but we are looking to see a big run from him.”

Master Of The Seas (far side) was caught close home by Poetic Flare (white) in the Guineas
Master Of The Seas (far side) was caught close home by Poetic Flare (white) in the Guineas (David Davies/PA)

Appleby is chasing another big prize having won the Derby and King George with Adayar, Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger with Hurricane Lane and a host of valuable prizes in North America last weekend.

Appleby expects him to come forward for the run, with bigger prizes on the horizon.

“Master Of The Seas was unfortunate to meet with a setback after the 2,000 Guineas but his preparation into this has gone well and we are very pleased with him,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“There will be improvement to come on whatever he does here as we have an eye on the Breeders’ Cup or Champions Day afterwards.”

Andrew Balding has a fascinating new recruit
Andrew Balding has a fascinating new recruit (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Andrew Balding runs an interesting new recruit in Queen Supreme.

She was a top-class mare in South Africa, winning at the highest level, but faces a baptism of fire on her UK debut.

She has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle and the rider told Betfair: “This is her first run since January, but she was a Grade One winner in South Africa when trained by Mike De Kock.

“She would have had a tough trip over here and would have had to spend time in quarantine. She’s running against two very good horses in Master Of The Seas and Benbatl so it’s a tough ask, but we’ll see how she goes.”

Roger Varian’s Laneqash, the consistent Sir Busker, previous Queen Anne winner Accidental Agent, Charlie Hills’ Pogo and Marcus Tregoning’s Perotto, who ran at Goodwood on Wednesday, complete the field.

Benbatl bids to reclaim Joel Stakes

Godolphin stars Benbatl and Master Of The Seas will lock horns in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

Benbatl was a runaway winner of Friday’s Group Two contest in 2019, and finished third behind Kameko when defending his crown 12 months ago.

Saeed bin Suroor’s charge was narrowly denied by Lavender’s Blue on his return from almost a year on the sidelines in last month’s Celebration Mile at Goodwood, and bids to get back on the winning trail on his return to the Rowley Mile under Oisin Murphy.

Bin Suroor also had the option of saddling the improving Real World, but he has not been declared.

The biggest threat to Benbatl appears to be the Charlie Appleby-trained Master Of The Seas, to whom he must concede 4lb.

The Dubawi colt won the Craven Stakes over the course and distance in the spring, but has been sidelined by injury since being beaten a short head by Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas in May.

William Knight saddles the ultra-consistent Sir Busker, while Eve Johnson Houghton runs stable stalwart Accidental Agent.

Pogo (Charlie Hills), Queen Supreme (Andrew Balding), Laneqash (Roger Varian) and Perotto (Marcus Tregoning) complete the field.

2000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas is a second Godolphin challenger in the Joel Stakes
2000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas is a second Godolphin challenger in the Joel Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Group Two honours are also up for grabs in the preceding Rockfel Stakes, for which 10 juvenile fillies are set to go to post.

Leading contenders include Balding’s Majestic Glory, who bids to complete a Newmarket hat-trick following successive wins on the July Course – most recently landing the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes.

Ralph Beckett and Frankie Dettori team up with July Course maiden winner Girl On Film, while Jumbly puts her unbeaten record on the line for Roger Charlton following victories at Leicester and Kempton.

George Boughey’s Oscula is also in the mix.

Beckett’s Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Albaflora sets a lofty standard in the Group Three Princess Royal Stakes.

Her rivals include Forbearance from the red-hot stable of Jessica Harrington, Hugo Palmer’s Golden Pass and Appleby’s Sayyida.

Master Of The Seas heads Godolphin possibles for Joel Stakes

Master Of The Seas, Benbatl and Real World give the Godolphin team a strong hand in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

Winner of the Craven Stakes over the course and distance in the spring, the Charlie Appleby-trained Master Of The Seas could make his first competitive appearance since filling the runner-up spot in the 2000 Guineas.

The Dubawi colt was beaten just a short head by Poetic Flare in the Rowley Mile Classic – and while he has missed much of the season through injury, he appears to be closing in on a comeback.

Saeed bin Suroor has the choice of saddling Benbatl and/or Real World.

Benbatl would be running in the Group Two contest for a third time, having won impressively in 2019 and finished third behind Guineas hero Kameko in last year’s renewal.

The seven-year-old can be expected to improve from his narrow defeat in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood considering it was his first appearance in 11 months.

His stablemate Real World, meanwhile, is unbeaten in three starts this season and remains open to further improvement.

John and Thady Gosden’s Sovereign Stakes winner Megallan also features among 11 confirmations.

The other Group Two on Friday’s card is the Rockfel Stakes, for which 16 juvenile fillies have stood their ground.

Likely contenders include Andrew Balding’s Majestic Glory, who is on a hat-trick following successive wins on the July Course, and the unbeaten Jumbly from Roger Charlton’s yard.

The Ger Lyons-trained Juncture is a potential challenger from Ireland, while George Boughey’s tough-as-teak Oscula sets the standard on ratings after a busy campaign.

Older fillies and mares get their chance to shine over a mile and a half in the Group Three Princess Royal Stakes, in which Ralph Beckett’s Albaflora could bid to get back on the winning trail after filling the runner-up spot behind Snowfall in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Setback rules Master Of The Seas out of Royal Ascot

Master Of The Seas has been ruled out of Royal Ascot after suffering a setback in training.

Charlie Appleby’s charge was beaten just a short head by Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas at the start of May, having lifted the Craven Stakes on his prep run for the Classic in April.

The Dubawi colt had been as short as 4-1 for the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting on June 15, but he is now set for a short spell on the sidelines.

Appleby told www.godolphin.com: “Master Of The Seas pulled up slightly lame after working on Saturday and after further investigation, he was found to have strained a joint.

“He will now be on the easy list for the next two to four weeks. We will then look at potential future engagements, which could include Goodwood.”

Master Of The Seas aiming for potential Guineas rematch in St James’s Palace

The St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot remains the likely next objective for Master Of The Seas following his narrow defeat in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The Craven Stakes winner came within a short head of providing trainer Charlie Appleby with his first victory in the Rowley Mile Classic – losing out to Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare in a thrilling finish on Saturday.

Appleby, who saddled two winners and five seconds across the two-day Guineas Festival, reports his horses to have recovered well from their weekend exertions.

He said: “They’ve all come out of their races well. The whole team look good – they all had an easy canter this (Tuesday) morning, and everybody is very happy with them.

“It was a great weekend for racing, and we were delighted with the way all ours ran. We had a touch of seconditis – but as I always say to the team, I’d rather finish second than second-last.

“We know the horses are in the right races and they’re in good condition – and if we keep knocking on the door those doors will open.”

Master Of The Seas fared best of three runners in the Qipco-sponsored Guineas for Appleby, with Naval Crown finishing fourth and One Ruler sixth.

Naval Crown appears set to join Master Of The Seas at the Royal meeting, with the seven-furlong Jersey Stakes viewed as a suitable target, while a tilt at the Derby will be considered for One Ruler.

“Master Of The Seas has had three runs this years now, so he deserves to have a little break,” Appleby added.

“Hopefully we’ll turn up at Ascot with some fresh legs. We’ll look forward to potentially having a rematch with the winner in the St James’s Palace.

“Naval Crown has got a couple of options, and I would say most likely we will look towards the Jersey with him. He’s got plenty of boot, but to be fair, two of his best runs have been over the mile – beating Master Of The Seas at Meydan, and in the Guineas.

“He’s got two solid mile performances behind him now, but it does look the most logical option for him to head to the Jersey.”

One Ruler could be Derby-bound
One Ruler could be Derby-bound (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The make-up of the trainer’s Derby squad is likely to be much clearer in the coming days, with Wirko and Yibir heading to Chester, Adayar bound for the Lingfield Derby Trial and Hurricane Lane possibly lining up for the Dante at York.

Appleby said: “Everyone is testing their (Derby) credentials over the next week, with the races at Chester followed by Lingfield at the weekend and then on to York next week.

“One Ruler is in the mix, for sure. The way he’s bounced out of the Guineas, I’m very pleased with him.

“It’s always hard to say where your horse is going to go immediately after the race, until you start to see how they’ve come out of it.

“The signs with all of them have been very good, so conversations will be had during the course of the week, firming up some plans for these horses.”

Appleby happy with strong hand in Guineas

Charlie Appleby is finding it tough to split Master Of The Seas and One Ruler in their respective bids for Qipco 2000 Guineas glory.

The Newmarket handler would love to win the Rowley Mile Classic for the first time on Saturday – and feels his two leading contenders give him a strong chance of doing so.

William Buick has sided with Master Of The Seas following his course-and-distance triumph in the Craven Stakes little over a fortnight ago, leaving James Doyle to pick up the ride on One Ruler on his seasonal reappearance.

“I’m delighted with the way Master Of The Seas has come out of the Craven. He’s shown us his wellness during the week – William sat on him on Wednesday and was pleased with him,” said Appleby.

“He ticks a lot of the boxes going into the weekend. I couldn’t be any happier with him and I’m looking forward to seeing him run.

“We’re taking on the same conditions as in the Craven in terms of it’s going to be quick ground again. We know he handles that and handles the track, and he saw the trip out well, so I always felt it was going to be hard for William to get off him.”

One Ruler has not been seen in competitive action since filling the runner-up spot in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster in October, but is reported to be in rude health by his trainer.

Appleby added: “I’m pleased with One Ruler’s preparation. He looks great and he’s ready.

One Ruler winning the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket
One Ruler winning the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“James is excited to be riding him. He was in a good position, waiting on William’s decision, and he was always going to be happy to jump on either horse.

“They’re two different types of horses. Master Of The Seas is a very honest traveller on the bridle, whereas One Ruler is a horse who warms into his race.

“I’m excited to see One Ruler have his first start as a three-year-old. The two horses have got different run styles, but in respect of the calibre of each horse, I think they’re hard to split.”

Appleby has a third string to his bow in outsider Naval Crown.

The son of Dubawi inflicted a shock defeat on Master Of The Seas in Dubai earlier in the year, before being beaten a neck by the Queen’s Tactical on his return to Newmarket in the Free Handicap.

Appleby feels Naval Crown could outrun his odds, saying: “We left him in the Guineas for a reason. Master Of The Seas was entitled to come forward from the run at Meydan and did come forward, but Naval Crown beat him fair and square.

“He’s been a rock solid little performer who brings an abundance of experience to the table, and I think the step back up to a mile is going to suit him.”

The Charlie Hills-trained Mutasaabeq was mightily impressive when winning a conditions race at the Craven meeting, which ultimately led to connections supplementing for the Guineas earlier this week.

“He seems to have come out of his Newmarket race really well. Jim (Crowley) came and sat on him on Wednesday and said he felt very relaxed and in good shape,” said Hills.

“We were trying to nurse him through his career, but his ability has got him where he is now. He’s only had two runs, but they’ve both been at Newmarket – so he’s got more experience than most on a course like that.

“It’s always encouraging to see horses win the way he did, but he’d done nothing wrong at all in his homework. He was working with the very nice horses at home and worked well with them. Winning by six lengths is nice to see – but did it surprise me? Possibly not.

“It goes without saying he becomes a very valuable proposition should he win a Guineas, being out of a Guineas winner.”

Richard Hannon is keen on the chances of Chindit, whose only defeat in five starts came when disappointing in the Dewhurst over seven furlongs here in October.

Chindit (left) was a narrow winner of the Greenham Stakes at Newbury
Chindit (left) was a narrow winner of the Greenham Stakes at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Wootton Bassett colt got back on the winning trail on his return in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury a fortnight ago.

“I think he’s a Group One horse now – if he wins the Guineas or not – and they are hard to find,” said Hannon.

“I feel he’s quite intelligent, he knows when he’s done enough. What pleased me in the Greenham was it looked like he was only getting going when he crossed the line. He looks like he wants a mile, which is great.

“He’s done all his winning on flat tracks like Ascot, Newbury and Doncaster – and this is vastly different. I don’t know if he enjoyed the Dewhurst, but I’m fairly sure that was down to the ground.

“The race will have turned him on, I think, just got him going. He travels a lot easier now at home.”

‘Class act’ Master Of The Seas sets sail in Craven

Master Of The Seas got the better of stablemate La Barrosa as Godolphin dominated the finish to the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

Master Of The Seas had looked every inch a top-class colt in the making when winning the Superlative Stakes on the July Course last summer, and while he could only finish fourth stepped up to Group One level for the National Stakes in Ireland he again showed his ability there.

Although beaten at odds-on by fellow Charlie Appleby-trained colt Naval Crown at Meydan in February, the son of Dubawi was the 11-4 favourite to recoup those losses on the Rowley Mile and ultimately got the job done in pleasing fashion.

Sporting a hood for the first time, Master Of The Seas was keen during the early stages before settling into a rhythm.

His supporters will have been sweating at the halfway stage, with the market leader seemingly stuck behind a wall of horses – but once switched wide for racing room, William Buick’s mount quickly found top gear to run down La Barrosa and score by three-quarters of a length.

Coral cut Master Of The Seas to 12-1 from 16-1 for next month’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.

Appleby said: “I’ll be honest, it wasn’t quite how we planned it as the plan was for La Barrosa to pop out and set a nice gallop and maybe come up the middle to give everyone racing room, but it didn’t materialise.

“He ended up just over-racing, but he was a bit fresh as well. I was pleased with how he ran.

“Master Of The Seas was the class act in the race, I was never disappointed with him in Meydan as our eyes were on a European campaign.

Master Of The Seas impressed in the Craven
Master Of The Seas impressed in the Craven (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“William had to ask him a few questions there, he had to go through the gears going into the dip which is hard for horses, but he’s very well balanced. He picked up well and went through the line strong.

“It was very pleasing by the pair of them. The hood helped Master Of The Seas settle and we’ll probably keep it on for the Guineas.

“I’ve been very pleased with One Ruler’s prep as well so it’s a nice position to be in to have two or three nice chances for the Guineas.”

He added: “We’ll see how this horse comes out of this race before William decides who to ride, but it might be hard to get off a Craven winner, he’s probably achieved more and has match fitness on his side. The Craven is a fantastic trial. We’ll chunter away and try to come up with the right horses.

“France for La Barrosa might come into it, we’ll just have to see. That was quick ground today, but they didn’t mind it.

“As that was La Barrosa’s first run of the season he’s entitled to come forward. Whether they’ll get closer, I don’t mind as long as one is in front.

“Master Of The Seas is speedier than One Ruler, he’s a bigger, scopier type. I think 10 furlongs will be his trip in time. I have been delighted with One Ruler’s prep though, and didn’t feel the need to run him in a trial.”

Master Of The Seas ready for Craven mission

What should prove an informative bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday has attracted a field of 10, with Charlie Appleby and Aidan O’Brien both holding strong hands in the Group Three contest.

Heading the market is the Appleby-trained Master Of The Seas, who was fourth in a strong renewal of the National Stakes at the Curragh in September and reappeared at Meydan in February.

He was beaten at odds-on there, but confidence appears high in the Appleby camp that he has progressed in the manner required. Interestingly, in 2018 the same yard’s Masar was beaten in Dubai before going on to win the Craven, finish third in the 2000 Guineas and land the Derby.

Appleby said: “He is a horse we went to Dubai with, knowing that our aim was to be here for the Craven. As we know it is a long season, whatever he was going to do out there, we were hopeful that we would see plenty of improvement – which we have seen.

“He has come out of the race well and has done well. He shipped back into England a week ago, and we are looking forward to the Craven.

“He has got some great form. He won his maiden here, then he won the Superlative on the July Course and he wasn’t disgraced in the National Stakes, where I feel he didn’t show his true running as he was very keen early on.

“He was keen in Meydan, and we are going to apply the hood in the race as he has gone to post with one on to the start in his last race. Hopefully that will help him switch off and do it the right way round. This was always going to be our plan. The mile suits him, and he was doing his best work towards the end at Meydan and he kept on nicely towards the line.”

Stablemate La Barrosa picked up Group Three honours last year in the Tattersalls Stakes over seven furlongs of the Rowley Mile, before trying Group One company in the Criterium International, finishing fifth of six to O’Brien’s Van Gogh.

La Barrosa remains unexposed
La Barrosa remains unexposed (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Appleby said: “One box he does tick is that he is already a course winner, and the mile will suit him. I think you can put a line through that last run of his in France as it was in very soft ground at the backend of the year. His preparation has gone faultlessly. He looks great.

“They are two horses that both bring Group-race form into it – and on two-year-old form they are the two picks. It got a bit tight on the rail in the Group Three here, but he got the gap and showed a bit of class and acceleration to get his head on front.”

Khartoum (Ryan Moore) and Sandhurst (Frankie Dettori) represent Ballydoyle hopes. Both had two starts as juveniles, each winning the second of them.

Away from the Appleby and O’Brien runners, the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Royal Air Force is interesting – stepping up markedly in class after winning a novice event at Yarmouth in June, having not been seen since.

He was impressive there, however, and Ed Crisford said: “I walked the track on Tuesday, and the ground was lovely, while the mile will suit him. I think it is a very ambitious task as it looks a hard race, but he has been doing well and he deserves to be there.

“He was impressive at Yarmouth – and although it was only a small-field novice, he did it nicely, and Ryan (Moore) liked him that day.

“He has been off for a long time as he had a little setback – we were going to run at the end of the year but we decided not to.

“He appears to have strengthened up as a three-year-old and hopefully he will improve again. I’m sure he will run a decent race and make a good account of himself.”

The field is completed by Devilwala (Ralph Beckett), Mystery Smiles (Andrew Balding), The Rosstafarian (Hugo Palmer), Akmaam (Brian Meehan) and Imperial Sands (Archie Watson).

Master back at HQ after Meydan outing

Master Of The Seas is one of 10 colts declared for the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.

Charlie Appleby’s charge won the Superlative Stakes on the July Course last summer, before going on to finish fourth when joint-favourite for the National Stakes at the Curragh.

The Dubawi colt made his first start of 2021 in Dubai in February – filling the runner-up spot behind stablemate Naval Crown, who is set to contest the Free Handicap at Newmarket on Wednesday.

Appleby also saddles La Barrosa, who won the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes on the Rowley Mile last season.

Aidan O’Brien also fires a twin assault, with Khartoum and Sandhurst both making the trip from Ireland.

Devilwala, who finished fourth in the Dewhurst in October before running at the Breeders’ Cup, represents Ralph Beckett.

Akmaam (Brian Meehan), Imperial Sands (Archie Watson), Mystery Smiles (Andrew Balding), Royal Air Force (Simon and Ed Crisford) and The Rosstafarian (Hugo Palmer) complete the line-up.

The main supporting race on the third and final afternoon of the Craven Meeting is the bet365 Abernant Stakes.

The hot favourite is Roger Teal’s stable star Oxted, who claimed this prize last season before going on to Group One glory in the July Cup.

The five-year-old will be expected to be more at home back on turf after finishing seventh in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint in Saudi Arabia on his latest appearance.

Oxted’s six rivals include Summerghand (David O’Meara) and Exalted Angel (Karl Burke), who were split by just a head when first and second on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield a fortnight ago.

Seas aiming to Master Meydan Classic rivals

Master Of The Seas limbers up for a potential tilt at the 2000 Guineas in the Meydan Classic in Dubai on Thursday.

The son of Dubawi looked a top-class colt in the making after winning on his first two career starts at Newmarket last summer, including a Group Two success in the Superlative Stakes in July.

Charlie Appleby’s charge, who was last seen finishing a close-up fourth in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September, is a best-priced 16-1 for the first British Classic of the year at Newmarket in May ahead of facing five rivals at Listed level at Meydan.

“Master Of The Seas is well clear on ratings and we know that he is the class horse in the race,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“Any sign of last year’s performances is going to make him very hard to beat, although this is very much a prep race ahead of his European campaign.

“We were tip-toeing away with him and he was doing everything nicely at home, so I felt that I would rather give him a run at Meydan.

“We are looking at the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Hopefully he can get a nice run under his belt before heading back to Europe.”

Master Of The Seas is joined by stablemate Naval Crown, who finished third in the UAE 2000 Guineas three weeks ago.

Appleby added: “Naval Crown has race fitness behind him, having produced a creditable performance in the UAE 2000 Guineas.

“Reverting back to the turf is going to be more to his liking and, if Master Of The Seas doesn’t run up to form, Naval Crown is a horse who could pick up the pieces.”

Mayehaab, Sharp Spun, Yurman and Nibras Passion are the other hopefuls.

Appleby also saddles strong contenders in the two Group Threes on the card.

In the Nad Al Sheba Trophy, the Moulton Paddocks handler runs Ispolini, who needs to raise his game following a couple of below-par efforts so far this year.

“Ispolini has just been struggling to find his form lately – but he is a past winner of this race and any rekindling of that old form is going to put him bang there,” said Appleby.

Ispolini is one of four Godolphin representatives in the one-mile-six-furlong contest along with Saeed bin Suroor’s trio of Global Heat, Volcanic Sky and Brilliant Light.

Volcanic Sky, Global Heat and Ispolini finished second, third and fourth respectively behind the Bin Suroor-trained Dubai Future in the Meydan Cup earlier in the month.

Appleby’s Star Safari will be a hot favourite for the Dubai Millennium Stakes off the back of a course-and-distance win a fortnight ago, with Bin Suroor fielding Bedouin’s Story, Dream Castle and Royal Marine.

“Coming back in trip doesn’t concern us with Star Safari as he broke the track record for this distance at the Carnival last year,” said Appleby.

“He came out of his recent handicap win in good form and we are hoping that he can run a big race in this company.”

Master to skip Dewhurst

Charlie Appleby has ruled Master Of The Seas out of the Darley Dewhurst Stakes following his defeat in Ireland earlier this month.

Having followed up a debut victory on the Rowley Mile with an impressive display in the Group Two Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course, the Dubawi colt was well fancied to provide his trainer with a third straight win in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh.

However, he ultimately came up a little short in his bid to follow in the hoofprints of Quorto and Pinatubo, finishing a close-up fourth behind Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon – who now heads ante-post lists for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

Master Of The Seas emerged with plenty of credit, but is currently on a break before a potential French assignment later in the autumn.

Appleby said: “He won’t be going to the Dewhurst. He didn’t come out of the National Stakes as well, and he had a hard race there.

“We felt we would give him a small break. I think we will go later in the autumn, and he has options in France.”

Foley keen on Lucky Vega chance in National Stakes

Shane Foley expects the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes to be one of the races of the weekend as he prepares to ride Lucky Vega against Battleground and Master Of The Seas at the Curragh.

Lucky Vega arrives on the back of arguably the most impressive performance by a juvenile this season in the Phoenix Stakes, when Jessica Harrington’s youngster quickened away to win by three and a half lengths.

Sunday’s assignment represents a different task – with Aidan O’Brien’s Chesham winner Battleground and the Charlie Appleby-trained Superlative Stakes scorer Master Of The Seas in opposition – but Foley is feeling confident.

“From day one he’s always been a nice horse,” said Foley, speaking on an Irish Champions Weekend preview.

“He had a little hold-up after his maiden win, which meant it was a bit of a rush getting to the Railway Stakes. He got beat in that, but improved no end for it and showed what he was capable of in the Phoenix.

“He’s laid-back, so should have no problem going up to seven furlongs. Looking at it, it looks one of the races of the weekend – with Battleground and Master Of The Seas.”

Battleground followed up his Ascot win in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, and now gets to race closer to home.

“He’s a big, powerful horse and has done very well physically since Goodwood – and we’re looking forward to running him,” said O’Brien.

“He’s handled good ground and slowish ground.”

Appleby has won the last two editions of the National Stakes with the ill-fated Quorto and last year’s champion juvenile Pinatubo – so is bidding for a hat-trick.

Master Of The Seas looks another top-class colt in the making for Charlie Appleby
Master Of The Seas looks another top-class colt in the making for Charlie Appleby (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He worked nicely during the week, and we’re very pleased with him,” said the Godolphin trainer.

“It’s going to be a good race. I saw Battleground at Ascot and I was at Goodwood when he won. I respect Jessica Harrington’s horse as well – he won the Phoenix well.

“Thankfully it’s a race we’ve had a bit of luck in in recent years, and it would be nice to continue it.”

Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon bolted up on his debut, but lacks in experience compared to the others.

“Obviously it’s a big step up in class from a maiden straight into a Group One, but we didn’t have many other options,” said the Owning Hill trainer.

“He’s in at the deep end, but couldn’t have won his debut any easier.”

Ken Condon with Law Of Indices

Ken Condon, with Laws Of Indices (INPHO/PA)Ken Condon’s Laws Of Indices had Lucky Vega behind him when winning the Railway but was then only fourth in the Phoenix.

“He’s not ground dependent, and he’s a very straightforward horse,” said Condon.

“Physically, he’s doing very well.

“I’m very happy with where he’s at – he looks a picture, and I think he’ll give a good showing.”

Jim Bolger’s Mac Swiney is another who has Group race-winning form to his name – over course and distance in the Futurity Stakes.