It’s a race that has consistently produced the very best and this year’s Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh, on day two of Longines Irish Champions Weekend on September 10th, has attracted the cream of the two-year-old crop once again.
Nine subsequent European champion two-year-old colts have won this race in the past 14 years, including Churchill, winner of the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas this term, and this year’s race has attracted a total of 102 entries, an increase of 12 on last year.
Aidan O’Brien, bidding for a fourth straight win in the race, and a 12th overall, has entered 28 horses, among them Declarationofpeace and Murillo along with Ancient City, a three-parts brother by Frankel to last year’s Epsom Derby runner-up US Army Ranger.
Jessica Harrington sent out Pathfork to win this race in 2010 and the leading dual-purpose trainer has made four entries including Coventry Stakes second Brother Bear, an authoritative winner of the Listed Cold Move Irish EBF Marble Hill Stakes at The Curragh this season.
Joseph O’Brien has entered his Listed Coolmore War Command Rochestown Stakes winner True Blue Moon while Beckford, trained by Gordon Elliott and Ken Condon’s Romanised are also entered.
Dermot Weld has made 13 entries and they include Falcon Flight, closely related to Free Eagle, and Sapiens, a son of Frankel and the Group 1 winner Etoile Montante. Jim Bolger has put 11 horses in the race and notable among them is National Security, a full-brother to Parish Hall which was a good servant to the stable a few years ago.
There are 27 entries from Britain, an increase of four on 2016. Denaar has been entered by Richard Hannon while Charlie Appleby has entered 12 horses including the Goodwood winner Masar, Zaman, successful at York, and Pitch Dark who cost €1.1 million when topping the Goffs November Foal Sale in 2015. Nebo was an impressive winner at the first time of asking for Charlie Hills at Newbury.