Duel Group One winner Starspanglebanner is set to make a return to the racecourse in the KARE Race Day Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh, which is the feature race on day one of the Darley Irish Oaks weekend this Saturday.
The Aidan O’Brien trained performer has not been seen in public since finishing fifth behind Markab in a Group One contest at Haydock in September of 2010. The son of Choisir had earlier that season landed both the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Ascot and the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket. Crusade, Empowering, Among Equals and After are the other Ballydoyle horses up for consideration.
Emulous had her winning streak brought to a halt when she could only manage fifth place behind Joviality at Royal Ascot, but the Dermot Weld-trained mare earlier showed her true worth when, on her seasonal debut, she easily landed a Group Three contest at this venue in May. A return to that sort of form would see her go very close on Saturday. Penitent and Firebeam are the two overseas challengers for the seven furlong contest, while local trainer John Oxx can choose between Takar and Akeed Wafi.
The much improved Custom Cut bids to record his fourth straight victory when he lines up in the D and M Trucks Kilcullen Supporting KARE Handicap. He is one of 13 entries for the seven furlong race and other notable runners here are Bubbly Bellini, Among Equals, Flic Flac and recent course scorer Winning Impact.
The Parfit Mobility Vehicles Supporting KARE Nursery is the first juvenile handicap of the season and the race has attracted 20 entries. Aidan O’Brien appears to hold a strong hand here with recent winners Count Of Limonade and Parliament Square to represent him, while he also has Pedro The Great in the race. Blue Bullet, Hard Yards, Truly Madly and Boston Rocker are other notable entries.
The first of seven races on Saturday, 21st July commences at 2.30pm and the ground is currently soft to heavy. The afternoon is designed to raise funds for KARE who do a fantastic feat in helping people with an intellectual disability.
Admission €15 U25s and Seniors €8 Children Under 16s Free