Jessica Harrington’s Cayenne Pepper has been touted as an Irish Oaks type since her debut and, on Saturday, this classy daughter of Australia bids to execute her date with destiny in style at the Curragh.
Cayenne Pepper finished second to Magical in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes on her seasonal return, an effort which pleased her trainer in view of this Classic test. “We were thrilled with her at the Curragh. We knew she wasn’t 100% fit, but she ran a great race there and I loved how she stayed on.”
Magical test an ideal stepping stone
Although beaten four and a half lengths, Magical is an established Group 1 performer and this was a hugely encouraging effort from Harrington’s three-year-old.
It might not be the strongest of renewals this year and the horse looks to have leading claims, but the trainer remains cautiously optimistic given the occasion.
“She’s in great form, but it is still a Classic and they are all hard to win. She’s been very good since (the Pretty Polly) and we’re very happy with her. You’d expect the step up in trip to bring her on again and we go there with every chance.”
Come what may, the Jessica Harrington stable marches on and, since the return of racing, the popular Irish handler has been sending out a steady stream of winners. With 49% of her horses running to form on Racing Post figures, the yard couldn’t be in better spirits just now and Cayenne Pepper ticks all of the boxes ahead of the 7:15pm feature contest.
Options open for Alpine Star
Cayenne Pepper is just one of the leading lights in a stable full of talent which includes Alpine Star, who put in a gallant effort in the French Oaks.
“She’s been fine since the Prix de Diane, I’m just not quite sure where she goes next. We’ll work things out in the next week or so and see what the weather is telling us. She may just need a little dig in the ground. She could step back to a mile, but ten and even twelve furlongs is within reach for her - she’s in great form.”
Alpine Star is already a Coronation Stakes winner and she’s a real Group 1 star in the making if continuing up this curve. The Irish Champion Stakes on Champions Weekend is a race she is entered for, and one connections may be aspiring to if she keeps going the right way.
Harrington's Junction can prove good fun for Frost
Irish racing has sprung back into life in no uncertain terms in recent weeks and despite the challenging times for the sport, the outlook is certainly positive on the Tote front on both sides of the Irish Sea. Recent news of the upcoming alliance between the UK Tote Group and the Irish Tote will shortly see a rejuvenation of pool betting in Ireland, which will include a Tote Guarantee against SP on all Win bets.
Jessica Harrington - an ambassador of the Irish Tote - trains a few nice young horses for UK Tote CEO, Alex Frost. Perhaps the most exciting of those is Jungle Junction, a horse to stick into your trackers ahead of the National Hunt season. A useful novice hurdler, he can pick up a nice handicap next season and looks sure to jump a fence in time.
“Jungle Junction will prove to be a good bit of fun and was a useful novice. Mr Frost is also involved with Exultation, who was on the weak side last season but will be alright in time. Gambling Mistress ran OK the other day and can also pay her way over hurdles.”
Whether she is talking about world class, Group 1 performers on the Flat, or prospects over the jumps, Jessica Harrington’s passion and attention to detail is what separates her from the pack. Cayenne Pepper is a likely contender to provide her with another Classic winner, following in the footsteps of Alpha Centuari who landed Harrington with her first Irish Classic in 2018 in the Irish 1000 Guineas.