Geoffrey Chaucer can give O’Brien winning Beresford tale

Tarfasha to provide emotional win for Weld

The original Geoffrey Chaucer was very interested in fate but his equine namesake can overcome superstition and make it a "Lucky 13" for Aidan O'Brien in tomorrow's Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.

As an identifier of future classic and Group One talent, the Beresford has a pedigree second to few with legendary names such Sea The Stars (2008) and Nijinsky (1969) on its roll-of-honour.

In comparison to other juvenile contests, many of the dozen O'Brien trained winners of the Beresford to date have a relatively second-division feel to them although St Nicholas Abbey scored four years ago before going on to become the leading prizemoney earner in British and Irish racing history.

Like St Nicholas Abbey, Geoffrey Chaucer is a son of the late Montjeu and the bare evidence of his sole start to date, at Leopardstown in July, doesn’t immediately scream future superstar.


The colt had to be pretty hard-ridden to beat the filly Tarfasha by three parts of a length with the sole other runner only another three parts of a length back in third.

Mitigating factors
There were mitigating factors though as the Ballydoyle horse was forced into making the running in a race that turned into a sprint and for a newcomer he did well to win from the front. Almost as important is the reputation he brought that evening which saw him start a 2/7 favourite and the actual form could look pretty hot by the time the Beresford is off.

Tarfasha herself lines up for the CL Weld Park Stakes just over an hour and a half prior to the big race.

O’Brien also runs the Anglesey runner-up Oklahoma City in the Beresford while the opposition includes the fast-ground loving Tyros winner Exogenesis, Johnny Murtagh’s Naas maiden winner Altruistic and the supplementary hope All Set To Go.

Geoffrey Chaucer is currently a 33/1 shot in some ante-post lists for next year's Epsom Derby. A cut in those odds can reasonably be expected after tomorrow.

Such a cut might even come after the Park Stakes if Tarfasha does her stuff in a race named in memory of her trainer’s father.

The €200,000 purchase has some tough opposition including John Oxx's impressive maiden winner My Titania and Ballydoyle Minorette but Tarfasha is obviously well regarded and can justify the decision to stay close to home.

Dogged National Hunt fans might even concede they’ll have some interest in the Irish Field Loughbrown Stakes as the Galway Hurdle heroine Missunited lines up against some of the big guns of the flat game.

Eye Of The Storm represents Ballydoyle and is 4lb better for a three quarter length defeat by Missunited in a Galway Listed race earlier in the month.

John Oxx runs two in the Irish Times Handicap and Rocktique could prove the answer to a wide-open race if stepping up from her run behind topweight Regulation last time.

Ruby Walsh travels to Navan today for a single rideon Celestial Prospect in the second of the handicap hurdles.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column