Jet turns a corner as Keatley eyes up Matron
Jet Setting's Irish 1,000 Guineas defeat of Minding looks more impressive with every passing day and Adrian Keatley is confident that she will prove her Royal Ascot disappointment to be a mere blip.
In denying the five-time Group One heroine by a head in last month's Curragh classic, Jet Setting (right) executed one of the biggest acts of giant-slaying on the Flat for some time.
A Richard Hannon cast-off, she remains the only horse to beat Minding in seven starts since the autumn and was subsequently sold for the princely sum of £1.3m to the China Horse Club on the eve of the royal meeting. Despite starting favourite for the Coronation Stakes, though, she was unable to sustain her effort, and was beaten four lengths in sixth behind Qemah.
Given the slow conditions, it was a slightly deflating turn. Keatley subsequently revealed that Jet Setting had picked up an infection on her travels.
Speaking on At The Races yesterday, the Curragh handler stressed that he felt she would make a full recovery, with a tilt at Irish Champions Weekend's Matron Stakes on the agenda, via the Fairy Bridge Stakes at Tipperary.
A mouthwatering rematch with Minding in the Leopardstown Group One on September 10 is probably no more than a slim possibility at this stage, but it could happen.
"She obviously picked up a little bug travelling over to Ascot," Keatley mused of his rags-to-riches star, which he hopes will stay in training next year.
"Fillies that she'd previously beaten finished in front of her, and, when we brought her home, she scoped wrong.
"She was very sick and her bloods were wrong. She's been on strong antibiotics since, but she's turned a corner and we are happy with her again.
"It wouldn't put me off travelling with her again, but we'll give her a few easy weeks. I've spoken to representatives of the owners and they are happy to let her take her time so we'll bring her back mid to late August. There's a race at Tipperary, a Group Three over seven-and-a-half furlongs, that would be a prep run for the Matron. Obviously I'd like to keep her in training, but that would be down to the owners."
More immediately, The Gurkha continues to harden at the head of the betting for Saturday's Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
Aidan O'Brien's French 2,000 Guineas winner and St James's Palace Stakes second was cut from 6/1 to 3/1 favouritism when the Ballydoyle genius on Sunday raised the possibility of his stepping up in trip for the 10-furlong Group One. He is now a best-priced 5/4, but is still 11/10 with Coral. "He has been backed virtually to the exclusion of his rivals," said the sponsors' David Stephens, "and at this rate he could be sent off odds-on."
Meanwhile, Tipperary handler Andy Slattery continued his fine form when Sharjah yesterday dotted up from the front under Tony Hamilton at Hamilton.
It was the 10/1 shot's second cross-channel success this summer.