Anthony Van Dyck and Quorot are strong favourites in the National Stakes betting this Sunday, as the season’s premier two-year-old colts do battle on day two of Irish Champions Weekend.
Already no bigger than 16/1 with Bet365 for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, Anthony Van Dyck represents Aidan O’Brien, with British trainer Charlie Appleby sending over fellow Group 2 winner Quorto. The National Stakes betting cannot split these talented colts, but only one can win the Group 1 this Sunday.
First held back in 1849 the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes is named after legendary trainer Vincent O’Brien who saddled the winner 15 times. It is run over 7f at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend with a €350,000 prize fund, and multiple 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby heroes on its honour roll.
Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has won this Group 1 11 times and has as strong a candidate as ever in Anthony Van Dyck. Priced at no bigger than 11/8 joint favourite to win the National Stakes with William Hill, the son of Galileo won the Group 2 Futurity Stakes last time out.
O’Brien has not saddled a National Stakes winner that did not finish in the first two in the Futurity Stakes, or the alternative trial, the Phoenix Stakes. Since 2001 there have been 17 renewals of the National Stakes and 10 have been won by the Futurity or Phoenix winner. The majority of the exceptions having been placed in those races, or trained in Britain.
It is probably safe to rule out three other runners, but I do like Mohawk. Third behind his two stablemates, Anthony Van Dyck and Christmas, in the Futurity, Mohawk shaped with plenty of promising in keeping on for third, a respectable distance behind Sunday’s rivals.
With further improvement possible, and a good jockey in Seamie Heffernan booked to ride, he looks overpriced at around 33/1 with Paddy Power. If you wanted to have a punt at a huge price in the National Stakes betting, consider him.
Don’t rule out Christmas either. He was chasing a hat-trick when finishing runner-up to Anthony Van Dyck in the Futurity, but already proved he stays further than 7f when winning a Listed contest over an extended 7f at Tipperary last month.
He has just half-a-length to find with this stablemate on form and is a tempting 8/1 in the National Stakes betting with Bet365.
The Phoenix Stakes winner Advertise isn’t here, but fellow Group 2 winner Quorto looks more than a match for Anthony Van Dyck. Godolphin took this race as owners through Dawn Approach in 2012 and again look to have a great chance with this unbeaten colt.
Quorto has done everything asked of him, following up an impressive victory in novice company over 6f at Newmarket, with an impressive success in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes on his first start over 7f.
The form of that latest success could be working out better, but the Charlie Appleby-trained colt couldn’t have been more impressive. With that in mind, and further improvement likely, he is our selection here.
He should prove hard to beat for a stable who have their horses in great form at present with a 38% strike-rate (6/16) in recent weeks. Take the 11/8 with William Hill.
Trainer Fozzy Stack saddles two outsiders in the National Stakes that might be worth watching. Leopardstown maiden winner Highland Fortune is the shortest price at 20/1 with Bet365, now wearing blinkers for the first time.
Victorious on fast ground at Leopardstown, the Declaration Of Fortune colt is unproven on ground softer than good and is held by Christmas on their running in a Tipperary Listed contest last month. The drop in trip here may suit him better than his more fancied rival though and he does look the pick of his trainer’s two runners.
One place behind Highland Fortune at Tipperary was the maiden Wargrave, a Galileo colt who’s dam won a Group 3 over 6f as a three-year-old. While yet to win in three starts, Chris Hayes’ mount proved he handles soft surfaces when finishing third to Land Force at the Curragh on debut in May. He’s 40/1 with Paddy Power.