Ol’ Man River faces stiff test in Beresford

Son of Montjeu and Finsceal Beo visually impressive on first start

 Tamadhor comes home to win the Ballylinch Stud European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden with Chris Hayes aboard earlier in September. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tamadhor comes home to win the Ballylinch Stud European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden with Chris Hayes aboard earlier in September. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

As a €2.85 million product of two notable classic winners expectation has always surrounded Ol’ Man River who tomorrow will get a serious test of his 2015 classic ambitions in the Curragh’s Juddmonte Beresford Stakes.

The Group Two mile contest has an illustrious history of revealing future Group One heroes, from Nijinsky 45 years ago through to Sea The Stars in 2008. Aidan O’Brien’s 13 previous winners include star names such as St Nicholas Abbey in 2009.

Few though have brought the sort of reputation Ol’ Man River has to the Beresford, with an impressive debut win at HQ adding to the lustre of his notable price-tag as a yearling.

The son of Montjeu and Finsceal Beo was visually impressive on his first start, enough to make him a general 16/1 shot for next year’s Derby already, although he is behind three of his stable companions in those betting lists.

The form of that maiden hasn’t been advertised much since. Nasution has won at Listowel but the runner-up, fourth, and sixth, have all been beaten since.

Two Ballydoyle stable-companions line up alongside Ol’ Man River, while also in the field is the intriguing Galway maiden winner Clonard Street who has his first start for JP McManus and Tony Martin.

Ol’ Man River’s big test though could come from Tombelaine who chased home

Derby favourite John F Kennedy at Leopardstown last time. The Weld runner looked to get pocketed on the bend that day and after previously chasing home Gleneagles in the Tyros, now could be his chance to get his own back on a Ballydoyle star, and allow the race sponsors keep their money.

Qualify is the Ballydoyle number one in the Weld Park Stakes but this contest could wind up revolve around one of the maidens. Stellar Glow would probably have overhauled Tamadhor in another few strides at Leopardstown a fortnight ago despite a less than trouble-free passage up the straight.

Qualify and Lola Beaux set a very decent standard but Jim Bolger’s decision to jump straight into Group Three company with Stellar Glow can’t be ignored. If she does emerge best, then Tamadhor’s chance in the following Blenheim Stakes will escape no one.

The form of Ol’ Man River’s maiden win will get another test in the opening maiden with Sacrificial although Joseph O’Brien’s pick, The Warrior, could better his Cork debut.

If there’s expectation around Ol’ Man River, then there isn’t much less around the anticipated third racecourse appearance of Forgotten Rules in the Loughbrown Stakes. The bumper winner sluiced up at the Galway festival and was second-favourite for the Irish Leger until ruled out due to the ground. If Dermot Weld allows him start tomorrow, then some smart types could be left in his wake.

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