Queen Blossom primed for Salsabil Stakes at Navan

Patrick Prendergast hoping star filly can follow in glorious path of previous winners

Two future Group One winners emerged from the 2015 Irish Stallion Farms Salsabil Stakes and Curragh trainer Patrick Prendergast is hoping his star filly Queen Blossom can progress along similar lines after this Sunday's Navan feature.

The subsequent Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Pleascach finished runner-up to Bocca Baciata in last year’s edition of the €55,000 Listed race, while the third, Diamondsandrubies, progressed to beat Legatissimo in the Pretty Polly Stakes.

A total of eight fillies remain in Sunday’s event after the latest declaration stage, including Found’s sister, Best In The World, who is as low as 16-1 in ante-post betting for the Irish Oaks, and is one of a trio of Ballydoyle hopefuls.

Dermot Weld's pair of potential starters include the course winner Emergent while Jim Bolger's sole entry is Glamorous Approach, 33-1 for Epsom, who finished fourth to Queen Blossom on Day One of the turf season in the Park Express Stakes.


Queen Blossom raced in the colours of Sean Greaney on that occasion at the Curragh but will have a first start for her new American owners, Team Valor, in Sunday's race. She will again be ridden by Fran Berry, rider of Bocca Baciata last year, and who also won the Salsabil in 2013 on Alive Alive Oh.

“We have her entered for the Irish Oaks but Team Valor have also mentioned the Belmont Oaks (July 6) as a possible race for her. It’s over a mile and a quarter but is worth $1 million. They’ve said we’ll play it by ear. But all going well, she definitely goes to Navan on Sunday. Being by Jeremy, heavy ground shouldn’t be an issue,” said Prendergast.

Team Valor, who famously owned the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner, Animal Kingdom, have raced horses in Ireland in the past, including the Andy Oliver-trained Panama Hat.

“This is the first horse I’ve had for them and it’s nice to have them in the yard. If the filly was to go to Belmont she might remain in America with someone else but that’s a long way down the line. She is in the Irish Oaks too. Hopefully she will be able to run in one or other of the races but she wouldn’t take in both,” Prendergast added.

Dry weather

Ground conditions at Navan are officially “heavy” at the moment but some dry weather is forecast over the coming days which will be welcome news at Cork which is currently waterlogged ahead of Saturday’s Heritage Stakes card. The situation at Cork is being monitored by officials.

The Gladness winner Onenightidreamed is one of 13 left in the Listed Heritage Stakes and Tommy Stack’s runner potentially faces another clash with Flight Risk and Sruthan who finished behind him at the Curragh.

Jim Bolger has kept open the option of running either Herald The Dawn or Round Two Godolphin in Saturday's JCT Greenham Stakes at Newbury.

The Godolphin owned pair are among ten remaining in the prestigious classic trial while Curragh trainer Michael O'Callaghan has Now Or Never, runner up to Jet Setting at Leopardstown on Sunday, left in the Group Three Dubai Duty Free Stakes on the same card.

Shogun, third to Herald The Dawn in last season's Curragh Futurity, will fly the Ballydoyle flag in Thursday's Craven Stakes but prior to that his stable companion Waterloo Bridge will travel to Newmarket for Wednesday's Tattersalls Millions Sprint.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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