Ryan Moore was unbeaten at Dundalk last season, winning on both his rides at Ireland’s only all-weather track. That alone would make the fact that he travels there for one ride on Friday intriguing enough. There’s another interesting factor at play, his ride is Aidan O’Brien’s first Irish runner of the year. O’Brien himself had a very healthy 26 per cent strike-rate at the track last year.
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Cairo goes in the feature race on the card, the Listed Patton Stakes. This three-year-old son of Quality Road had four starts as a juvenile, winning twice and filling the runner-up spot on the other two. Really announced himself with a dominant win in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes over 7f when last seen. A stablemate finished second that day, almost three lengths behind and boosted the form by winning easily next time.
One cause for concern would be his penultimate effort which came here also over 7f, in a Listed event. He finished second by two-and-a-quarter lengths and the winner didn’t exactly back that form up at the Breeders’ Cup next time. His sire was effective at up to 1m2f however and he may well appreciate the extra furlong this time, having won his maiden over a mile.
The ratings suggest Dermot Weld’s Tiverton is likely to be one of the main challengers but he was 11 lengths behind Cairo in that Killavullan Stakes. Perhaps some of the progressive all-weather performers with a fitness advantage will cause Cairo the most difficulty. It speaks volumes that Ryan Moore has gone all that way for just this ride and the Moore/O’Brien combo is one of the most deadly in the sport’s history.
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