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Nagle eyes golden end

TRAINER David Nagle is favouring a trip to Ascot with Ayr Gold Cup third Maarek.

THE five-year-old defied top weight to finish just under four lengths behind Captain Ramius at the Scottish track on Saturday, just a week after notching a Group Three win at the Curragh.

Nagle was thrilled with his effort and is looking towards the Group Two Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on October 20 with his charge.

While unlikely at present, a crack at next weekend's Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp has not been ruled out.

"At the moment I would be leaning towards Ascot rather than the Abbaye," said the Co Tipperary handler.

"He likes a stiff six furlongs and obviously the Abbaye is only over five.

"We will keep our options open, but it would have to come up very soft for him to take his chance at Longchamp.

"The Abbaye is one of those races where you could run it 10 times and get 10 different results.

"We were delighted with him at Ayr. He likes a fast pace and if they'd have gone a bit faster early on last Saturday he might have been second, but he wouldn't have caught the winner.

"It was always going to be a big ask off his rating but he's a super horse and is just so consistent."

If Maarek does go to Ascot, it is likely to be his final outing of the year.

Nagle added: "I would think (it would be his last start) as there's not that many races left for him this year off his 114 rating."

First Cornerstone and Trading Leather are two of the star names among a total of 16 horses left in Sunday's Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.

First Cornerstone was last seen winning the Futurity Stakes for trainer Andrew Oliver last month, while Jim Bolger's Trading Leather was an impressive winner last weekend but also holds an entry for the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket 24 hours earlier.

Oliver said: "We will wait until later in the week before making a decision about Sunday's race but First Cornerstone could not be in better form and has thrived since his last race.

"While he has never won on extremes of ground, we would not be concerned about testing ground for him because we know from the last day that he handles it well."

Aidan O'Brien has taken out Derby favourite Mars, but he could still be represented by Afonso de Sousa, Eye Of The Storm, Kingston Jamaica, Lines Of Battle, Nevis, Sir Walter Scott, The Ferryman or Battle Of Marengo -- the conqueror of Trading Leather in a Listed race at Leopardstown.

David Wachman has two to choose from, Galileo Rock and Probably.