Wednesday 21 February 2018

Capri leads Aidan O'Brien's four-strong challenge on Beresford heat


Aidan O'Brien appears intent on adding to his remarkable tally in the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

The Ballydoyle handler has saddled an incredible 15 previous winners of the prestigious juvenile prize, including the last five, and fires a four-pronged assault on this year's renewal.

Heading the quartet is the Ryan Moore-ridden Capri, who since being narrowly denied on his debut at this track in July, has looked every inch a top-class prospect in winning at Galway and Tipperary.

The Galileo colt steps up to Group Two level this weekend and is ably supported by stable companions Exemplar, Latin Beat and Yucatan, all of whom arrive off the back of victories.

O'Brien said: "This has been the plan for Capri since he won at Tipperary and we've been very happy with him since then. He seems in good form.

"Exemplar is good . He won nicely in Galway last time. He progressed nicely from his first run and we've been happy with him since.

"Latin Beat won nicely in Tipperary and the horse that finished second to him (Son Of Rest) ran well in the National Stakes (finished fourth).

"We think the step up to a mile shouldn't be any problem for him."

Yucatan is another son of Galileo and is out of the great racemare Six Perfections.

The youngster was well-beaten on his debut but stepped up markedly to win over this course and distance a month ago.

"He progressed nicely from his first run to win nicely at the Curragh the last time and we think he'll progress again to this run," the trainer added.

Joseph O'Brien saddles Leopardstown maiden winner Eagle Spirit, who was no match for his father's Churchill when last of six runners in July's Tyros Stakes.

"He's in good form, he won a maiden at Leopardstown earlier in the year and was a little unlucky not to win at Killarney one day and he ran a bit free in Group race at Leopardstown after that," O'Brien told At The Races.

"We gave him a little break to freshen him up for the weekend and hopefully he runs very well."

Jessica Harrington supplemented Escape Clause following a dominant debut success in the mud at Listowel less than a fortnight ago.

She said: " I thought he'd run well in Listowel and he did it well, so we decided to supplement him for this.

"There's a good bit of rain due, which wouldn't bother him, so we'll see what happens.

"He's a big, strong horse and hopefully he has a chance."

Dermot Weld's Firey Speech won at Naas and Galway before filling the runner-up spot in a Group Three at Leopardstown.

Pat Smullen feels his mount may have his work cut out to beat the O'Brien clan on Sunday.

"He's a good, solid horse and ran a good race at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend," said the multiple champion jockey.

"The Ballydoyle horses will be hard to beat and our horse wouldn't want the ground too slow."

Press Association

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