Dr Zempf bids to follow in the hoofprints of trainer Ger Lyons’ former stable star Siskin by claiming top honours in the GAIN Railway Stakes at the Curragh.
Siskin was a brilliant winner of the Group Two contest in 2019 and went on to provide both Lyons and jockey Colin Keane with their first Classic success in last season’s Irish 2,000 Guineas.
While Dr Zempf has some way to go to scale those heights, he certainly looked a high-class prospect when making a winning start to his career over the Railway course and distance at the start of this month.
Keane, who also combined with Lyons to win the 2016 Railway Stakes with Medicine Jack, said: “He (Dr Zempf) looked nice on his first start – he was a good winner I thought on the day.
“He seems to be training well for the race. It looks a very good renewal, but hopefully he can give a good account of himself.
“Siskin had won his maiden and the Marble Hill en route to the Railway, whereas this horse has only had the one run.
“We’ll know where we stand after Saturday, I think.”
Fozzy Stack’s Castle Star has already won twice at the Curragh, most recently impressing in the Group Three Marble Hill Stakes.
Stack said: “It looks a strong renewal, but he’s got a nice draw (eight) and he seems in good order, so we’re hopeful of a good run.
“Hopefully he shows up. The ground won’t be as soft as it was in the Marble Hill, but I don’t see that being a problem for him.”
Aidan O’Brien has saddled 13 previous winners of the Railway Stakes – one short of the record set by the great Vincent O’Brien.
This year the Ballydoyle handler’s chief contender appears to be Cadamosto, who turns out just nine days after finishing a close-up fourth in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He is joined by two stablemates in The Acropolis, ninth in last week’s Coventry Stakes, and The Entertainer – who disappointed in the Marble Hill.
O’Brien said: “The Ascot run was Cadamosto’s first for a good while, and he seems to have taken it well.
“The Acropolis ran well at Ascot. He just got a little bit hampered about a furlong and a half down, but he ran well.
“The Entertainer ran in bad ground the last day, and we thought the going didn’t suit him. Hopefully he’ll leave that run behind him.”
There are two interesting challengers from Britain in David Loughnane’s Go Bears Go and the Richard Hannon-trained Dukebox.
Go Bears Go was beaten just a head into second place in the Norfolk, and his trainer is hoping he can go one better this weekend.
Loughnane said: “He came out of Ascot really well, so we said we’d take a crack at it.
“If he turns up in the same form as he went to Ascot, I think he’ll put up a big show.
“I still very much believe he’s the best we’ve trained – and I think we’ve plenty to look forward to with him.”
Dukebox is two from two for the Hannon team, but faces a step up in class.
“He appears to get fatter with racing – he’s got a great constitution,” said the trainer.
“He’s very tough, but you can’t really put a ceiling on what he’s capable of because he doesn’t win by far – that’s just what he’s like.
“This is a lovely race on a lovely track, and a few people have had the same idea to miss Ascot and come here.
“My lad’s a good two-year-old. Whether he’s good enough, we’ll find out on Saturday.”
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