Unbeaten Beckford bids for Group One success for Gordon Elliott
Dermot Weld is considering an tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with Zhukova
Dermot Weld: “If I thought we were going to get a wet autumn, we’d definitely train her for the Arc.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Beckford will put his unbeaten record on the line against seven rivals in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.
A rare two-year-old runner for Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott, the son of Bated Breath made a big impression on his racecourse debut at the Curragh and returned to the track to land last month’s Railway Stakes.
He now steps up to the highest level and bids to provide Elliott with a first Group One success.
Aidan O’Brien has claimed this prize a remarkable 15 times and sends four juveniles into battle.
Sioux Nation makes his first appearance since winning the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, while US Navy Flag is a course-and-distance winner and was last seen chasing home Cardsharp in the July Stakes at Newmarket.
Declarationofpeace and the only filly in the field, Actress, are the other two Ballydoyle representatives.
Ken Condon has also declared Romanised, while Tom Dascombe’s Frozen Angel and Helvetian from Mick Channon’s yard travel from Britain.
Meanwhile, Dermot Weld is considering an ambitious tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October with high-class mare Zhukova.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock won her first three starts of last season, but disappointed when stepped up to the highest level in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot in October.
She righted that wrong with a stunning display in the Grade One Man O’War Stakes at Belmont Park in May, and was last seen finishing a creditable fourth in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.
“She put up a spectacular performance when she won the Man O’War for us and we’re delighted with her,” said Weld.
“She’s in great order and we’ll speak with her owner and decide whether we train her for the Arc or go back to Belmont for the Turf Classic and then races like the Canadian International. All those great races are there in the fall for her. If I thought we were going to get a wet autumn, we’d definitely train her for the Arc.”