Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Group 3) | 3yo+ | 6f | ATR
Seventeen appears to be the number of the day at the Curragh on Sunday, with Aidan O'Brien aiming to build on his 16 successes in the juvenile Group 1 contest and admirable globetrotter Gordon Lord Byron seeking his 17th success in the Phoenix Sprint Stakes.
Tom Hogan enjoyed a Galway festival winner last week through the ultra impressive Honor Oak, and the Nenagh trainer's stable star Gordon Lord Byron returns to the Curragh following a respectable fifth to Fleet Review in a Listed event over this course and distance in June.
Hogan said: "He had a little setback after his last run with a bit of a drop in his foot, but in the last couple of weeks he's done some nice pieces of work which leave us hopeful for a good run.
"He seems in good form and it was a grand run last time considering he had gone a bit lazy in his work and was a little short for the run."
With a mark of 111, Spirit of Valor is the highest-rated runner in the nine-strong field. He finished second to subsequent Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Merchant Navy over this course and distance in the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes.
O'Brien said of the four-year-old: "He was only beaten by two lengths in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last time. Sprint Of Valor came out of the race well and dropping back a furlong in trip shouldn't be an issue."
Three-year-old Urban Beat takes a major step up in class after winning a heavy-ground premier handicap off 89 at this venue in May, but trainer Johnny Murtagh is hopeful his charge can make the grade.
"It's a big step up but we're looking forward to it and we'll see where he fits in after this," he said. "There are lots of good horses against him and he has it to do on ratings but he's a progressive sprinter and we're hoping he can step up. The ground should be no problem."
Joseph O'Brien is double-handed in the race with the former Marco Botti-trained Speak In Colours and Now You're Talking, who was fifth in a Listed fillies' sprint last month.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained Gorane has been a model of consistency this term while Smash Williams and Son Of Rest are closely matched on ratings.
The field is completed by Mr Scarlet, who hails from the in-form Sheila Lavery yard and wears first-time cheekpieces.