Safe Voyage sets sail for Minstrel honours

Curragh assignment for Quinn improver

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Safe Voyage will aim to win his fourth race on the bounce in the Paddy Power Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.

The six-year-old has matured into a very smart performer this season, recording three victories at Haydock.

He started out winning a handicap off 103, progressed into Listed company and last time out took home Group Three honours in easy fashion.

A true seven-furlong specialist, John Quinn has had this race marked out for some time.

“I’m very happy with him – it’s another step up, but he’s in very good form and we’re hoping for a big run,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“The forecast has come in his favour, he will need the rain, but there is quite a bit forecast through Friday, so as long as it’s good ground or easier he’ll run.

“He’s been great this year, he had his problems as a younger horse, but those are behind him now.”

Another British raider is James Tate’s Hey Gaman, also unbeaten this season in his two outings.

Narrowly beaten in the French Guineas last term, his form tailed off somewhat but he has bounced right back to his best, with wins at Leicester and in a Group Three at ParisLongchamp.

Frankie Dettori is back on board after partnering him at Leicester.

“He’s in great form this season and I think the seven at the Curragh will suit him – it’s pretty straight with a right-handed dog leg which I think will really suit,” said Tate.

“I don’t think ground bothers him now he’s four. He’s won on soft and good to firm, and it looks like it will be roughly good from what I can read into the situation.

“It has been pretty quick over there, but there is rain around.”

There are few more popular horses in training than Tom Hogan’s 11-year-old Gordon Lord Byron and he will be bringing up a century of races.

“It will be his 100th race and he’s been to the Curragh over 20 times, he always runs well there,” said Hogan.

“He seems fresh and well in himself and hopefully he’ll run well again – if he can get some prize-money it will be great.

“It will be his 75th stakes race. It’s unusual, but he’s pampered every day and loves the game. The owner is happy for him to keep going as long as he’s enjoying it – as soon as it’s clear he doesn’t we’ll stop.”

Ken Condon’s Romanised is looking for his first win since last year’s Irish Guineas and arrives on the back of a fine fourth in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.

Richard Fahey’s Mr Lupton and the Jim Bolger-trained Flight Risk are others who cannot be ruled out.

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