Ken Condon is looking forward to seeing his stable star Romanised return to action in the Paddy Power Minstrel Stakes on Saturday.
After finishing fourth in both the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot last season, the 2018 Irish 2,000 Guineas hero opened his account for the campaign in this seven-furlong Group Two 12 months ago – and returns to the Curragh to defend his crown.
Condon said: “It will be great to see him back on the racecourse. He looks a picture and is working well, so we’re looking forward to getting him started.
“With the uncertainty of everything, we were keen to start him off at home. In a normal year we’d have been going to the Gladness Stakes, then the Lockinge and then the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, but obviously everything changed.
“We didn’t want to run him in the Queen Anne first time back. The Curragh is just on our doorstep, he has a good record at the track and the conditions of the race suit us well, so this looked a good place to start.”
Following last year’s Minstrel Stakes triumph, Romanised went on to claim a second Group One success in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, before almost adding a third when touched off by Aidan O’Brien’s Circus Maximus in the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp.
Condon expects his charge to improve from his run this weekend ahead of a likely return to France later in the summer.
He added: “Last year he got better as the year went on, so I’m sure he’ll take something from the race on Saturday.
“From this weekend we’ve got a month until the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, which we’d like to go for again, and then maybe we’ll look to go back to Longchamp.”
Romanised is the star attraction in a seven-strong field, with Aidan O’Brien saddling Lancaster House, Love Locket and Precious Moments.
Buffer Zone (Ger Lyons), Gustavus Weston (Joe Murphy) and Surrounding (Mick Halford) are the other hopefuls.
Condon also has hopes of landing the Group Two GAIN Railway Stakes with his Navan maiden winner Laws Of Indices.
Aidan O’Brien is represented by Navan scorer Forest Of Dreams and course and distance winner Merchants Quay as he bids to add to his tally of 13 victories in the race.
Condon said of his youngster: “He’s a nice horse who just won at Navan. He needs to improve on what he’s shown so far, but we think he probably is a bit better than what he’s shown and we’re looking forward to seeing where he fits in.”
Arctician (Paddy Twomey), Eastern Voice (Jim Bolger), To Glory (Lyons) and Lucky Vega (Jessica Harrington) complete the line-up.
Harrington said of the latter: “He won in Naas the first day we were back racing. We were always going to be a bit of time after that as he’s a nice, big colt. Hopefully he’ll be ready to rock and roll on Saturday.”
Twilight Payment bids for back-to-back wins in the first of three Group Twos on the card – the Comer Group International Curragh Cup.
The seven-year-old won last year’s renewal for Bolger, but is now with Joseph O’Brien, who also runs Master Of Reality.
Aidan O’Brien relies on Memorabilis, with Harrington’s Camphor and the Luke Comer-trained pair of Cypress Creek and Giuseppe Garibaldi completing the sextet.