EXCELEBRATION is the star turn at the Curragh next Sunday, 22nd April when the son of Exceed And Excel makes his Irish debut in the Group 3 Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes. Formerly trained by Marco Botti in Newmarket and now in the care of Aidan O’Brien was rated one of the top milers in the world last season and twice finished runner-up to the outstanding Frankel.
Winner of last season’s German 2000 Guineas, Excelebration was also successful in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury where he earned rave reviews for his complete demolition of his rivals. He is reported to be in good shape ahead of Sunday’s race when he will face a maximum of eight rivals including stable companions Empowering and Windsor Palace. There are also two likely overseas challengers here in the David Nicholls-trained Beacon Lodge and Charlie Hills’s Red Jazz.
Aidan O’Brien is also well represented in the Listed Anne Brewster Memorial Loughbrown Stakes and is responsible for five of the 13 remaining in the seven furlong contest. Nephrite, unbeaten in his two races as a juvenile, appears to be best of the Ballydoyle quintet, while David Wachman’s Experience and the Jim Bolger-trained Caonach are two other horses to look out for.
Chrysanthemum created a very favourable impression when landing a Group 3 contest at this venue last month on her seasonal debut and the David Wachman-trained filly bids for a quick follow up in the Listed Run Kildare13th May Alleged Stakes. She is one of 11 horses remaining in the 10 furlong contest which has also attracted Midnight Soprano and the Dermot Weld-trained pair of Unaccompanied and Zaminast.
Infanta Branca produced a fine debut effort when taking second place behind Liberating in a Cork maiden recently and the Aidan O’Brien-trained juvenile will be fancied to go one better in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden. There are also a couple of decent handicaps on Sunday’s programme, in particular the Irish Field Handicap which has attracted an entry of 25 horses.
The first of eight races at the Curragh on Sunday commences at 2.20pm and the ground is currently Good.