Sport Greyhounds

Thursday 22 February 2018

Saxon bags Beresford as English make hay

Jenna Boyle of BoyleSports (left) with Good News owners Mary Kennedy and Sandra Guilfoyle and trainer Pat Guilfoyle after the Irish Derby at Shelbourne Park.
Jenna Boyle of BoyleSports (left) with Good News owners Mary Kennedy and Sandra Guilfoyle and trainer Pat Guilfoyle after the Irish Derby at Shelbourne Park.

Johnny Ward

Saxon Warrior confirmed himself to be an extremely promising colt by running away with the Beresford Stakes at a sun-kissed Naas.

Despite something of a wobble in the market, the 5/6 favourite made light work of the remainder, including Brendan Duke's Warm The Voice, which was narrowly denied second after a splendid performance.

Saxon Warrior, a son of brilliant Japanese sire Deep Impact, was providing O'Brien with a 17th victory in the Beresford, otherwise run at the Curragh. Septimus (2005), St Nicholas Abbey (2009) and last year's hero Capri were among those on the roll of honour for Ballydoyle.

Saxon Warrior was cut into a general 10/1 for the Investec Derby next year, yet the impression he made here - and the comments of both O'Brien and rider Ryan Moore - would indicate a Qipco 2000 Guineas assignment is no pipe-dream.

"Ryan was delighted with him. We were worried about the ground and Ryan said it's not his ground but he was very happy with him. He travelled very strong and quickened very well," the trainer said.

"He can run again but he doesn't have to. Ryan said he had plenty of speed and felt very pacey, and we always thought he would stay. He's a classic colt.

"He's very inexperienced. We put in the two horses (against him) and they are going to be decent middle-distance horses. He had to learn a lot and he had to be decent to do what he did."


Delano Roosevelt could yet prove a bigger Derby threat than his stablemate, though the runner-up again looked unwilling to do anything in a particular hurry.

Renneti (4/5) has developed into an exceptional performer for Willie Mullins, who took his Flat strike-rate to a staggering 26pc this term as the French-bred bolted up in the Group Three Loughbrown Stakes under Pat Smullen.

"Hopefully this time of year he will keep getting the ground he likes with plenty of dig in it, he'll probably stick to this sort of trip and he could go for the race in Ascot," Mullins said. Boylesports go 10/1 about the winner (from 16/1) for the Long Distance Cup.

It was a remarkably successful afternoon for English trainers, with Karl Burke taking two of the Group races and Paul Midgley saddling the first couple home in the Joe McGrath.

Burke could barely recall if he had even had runners at Naas before but promised to come back after 10/1 Ellthea took the CL & MF Weld Park Stakes and Quiet Reflection oozed brilliance in the Renaissance.

Quiet Reflection (5/2f) is now taking dead aim at the brilliant Harry Angel on Champions Day at Ascot on October 21 after crushing her Group Three foes under Donegal native Martin Harley, evidence of what seems a near-perennial British superiority over Irish sprinters.

"We had to take our time with her and it's just a shame that things didn't go right early on (in the year)," Burke said.

"Hopefully she comes out of this well and roll on four weeks for Ascot, and if the ground comes up soft she will give Harry Angel a race.

"On soft ground this filly is very good and she can only sharpen up for that run. Win, lose or draw she has been an absolute star for us, and it's just great to get her back. She heads to Tattersalls in December. That's where she'll go after Ascot."

Midgley's raids in Ireland tend to turn out fruitful and the well-backed Tylery Wonder (10/1), which called the Curragh home for much of his life, had stable buddy Monsieur Joe back in second in the sprint handicap under Leigh Roche.

"It's a nice surprise to be perfectly honest as I thought the ground would be too slow for him," said the visiting handler. "He got a length out of the gate and never really looked like he was going to get beaten.

"Monsieur Joe has run great as well. Age is probably catching up a little bit with him but he's still got plenty of will to win."

McMunigal ran out a good winner of the opening maiden. The Ger Lyons-trained son of Epaulette was bought for 50,000 guineas in April and, sent off 13/2, did the job quite tidily under Colin Keane.

Ellthea's rider, Colm O'Donoghue, completed an excellent week by steering Pincheck (10/3) to win the finale for Jessica Harrington, while 16s shot Powersville snared the auction race for Tom Mullins on a nice day for the family, veteran Niall McCullagh doing the steering.

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