The first two scoring races on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby are set for Saturday, about 15 minutes apart. The Beresford (G2) at the Curragh is scheduled to go off at 8:35 a.m. (ET), followed by the Royal Lodge (G2) at Newmarket at 8:50 a.m. (ET). Both one-mile turf events are now worth points to the top five finishers, as recently announced for the 2022-23 Road, on a 10-4-3-2-1 scale.
Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien has won the Beresford an astonishing 21 times, the last 11 in a row. He has two chances of extending his stranglehold on the Curragh feature with Adelaide River and Continuous.
Adelaide River rolled in his debut over Dundalk’s Polytrack before missing by a neck in the Sept. 8 Prix des Chenes (G3) at Longchamp. Wayne Lordan rides the son of Australia and classic-placed Could It Be Love, who is herself a half-sister to champion Uncle Mo.
Continuous, a winner at first asking here Aug. 20, is a close relative of O’Brien’s 2017 Beresford hero Saxon Warrior. His dam, the Galileo mare Fluff, is a full sister to Saxon Warrior’s dam, champion Maybe. While Saxon Warrior is by the great Deep Impact, Continuous is by another outstanding Sunday Silence stallion in Japan, Heart’s Cry. Emmett McNamara picks up the mount.
O’Brien’s son Joseph is likewise double-handed in the Beresford with Lakota Seven, a son of leading European freshman sire Sioux Nation (by Scat Daddy), and Roaring Gallagher, from the only crop of the late Roaring Lion (by Kitten’s Joy).
Lakota Seven is the more experienced of the pair. Since breaking his maiden over a mile at Bellewstown, he’s finished third in the Churchill S. at Tipperary and fourth in the Aug. 20 Futurity (G2) at this venue. Roaring Gallagher was a gutsy winner in his Aug. 24 unveiling, also going a mile at Bellewstown.
, winner of a productive Galway maiden, comes off a third in the aforementioned Prix des Chenes for Jessica Harrington. The Michael O’Callaghan-trained Crypto Force
has not been seen since his seventh in the June 18 Chesham S. at Royal Ascot
, but on debut, he beat Ballydoyle’s highly-regarded Auguste Rodin. Jim Bolger sends out Young Ireland
, still a maiden after five starts. Yet the well-bred son of past Bolger star New Approach has been mixing it up in some salty races and could be capable of better.
Royal Lodge (G2)
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has the odds-on favorite in Flying Honours, who has romped in his past two starts by a combined margin of 15 lengths. By the great Sea the Stars, the homebred demolished a Sandown novice and followed up in the Stonehenge S. at Salisbury. His form was boosted when the Stonehenge runner-up, Stormbuster, came back to win a key conditions race at Newbury. William Buick guides the one to beat.
Only three rivals have stepped up to challenge him. Aidan O’Brien, a seven-time Royal Lodge winner, relies on Greenland. From the first crop of Saxon Warrior, Greenland finally broke his maiden at Roscommon in his fourth try.
Mark Johnston has trained four winners of this race, and now with son Charlie as co-trainer, the yard goes for a fifth with Dubai Mile. The son of Roaring Lion, who earned his first stakes win in the 2017 Royal Lodge, posted front-running victories at Windsor and Kempton in his last pair.
will try to become an amazing sixth stakes winner for his dam, Tanaghum, whose leading performers have been Group 2 hero Bangkok and Group 1 scorer Matterhorn. Trained, like Bangkok, by Andrew Balding, The Foxes has not raced since his July 30 maiden victory during the Glorious Goodwood festival. The son of Churchill was previously a slow-starting ninth in Royal Ascot’s Chesham, and initially fourth in the May 13 Newbury maiden where Mysterious Night, the future Summer (G1) romper
, was runner-up.
In addition to its role on the European Road, the Royal Lodge is also a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile Turf (G1). It is the opener on a terrific Newmarket card highlighted by the Middle Park (G1) and Cheveley Park (G1) as well as the historic Cambridgeshire H.