Horses To Follow » Espionage


Espionage ran out a good winner of the opening two-year-olds’ maiden at The Curragh last Sunday, building on his encouraging racecourse debut at Galway three weeks earlier. Sharply away and allowed stride on into the lead early on by Ryan Moore, he led against the far rail as his rivals fanned out across the track behind him. His rider gave him a squeeze as they reached the two-furlong marker, and he picked up well at that point, putting a distance of ground between himself and his pursuers. His stable companion Sierra Blanca finished off his race well out in the centre of the track, as did Michael O’Callaghan’s newcomer Djockovic, and Thalara stuck to her task well, but it never looked like any of them were going to get to the leader, who still had almost two lengths in hand when he got to the winning line.

It was a nice performance by Aidan O’Brien’s colt, a nice step forward from an encouraging racecourse debut at Galway, when he was slowly away but stayed on strongly up the hill to take second place behind his stable companion Alexandroupolis over an extended mile on soft ground. By Galileo out of Ribblesdale Stakes winner Even Song, it wasn’t certain that the drop down two seven furlongs would be ideal, but he showed plenty of pace early on and he went to the line strongly. He will be a horse for middle distances next year, all things being equal, but Aidan O’Brien won this race two years ago with Van Gogh, who finished second in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket next time and won the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud over a mile on his final run of the season, and Espionage will be of interest if he does race again this season. The Criterium International or the Vertem Futurity Trophy would both be legitimate targets.
The Curragh, 25th September 2022