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Ascot return on the cards as Sioux leads Ballydoyle treble

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Thomas Kelly

Classy colt Sioux Nation returned to his best when defying a Group One penalty in the Goffs Lacken Stakes at Naas yesterday.

Winner of last season's Phoenix Stakes, the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt displayed his quality as the 15/8 favourite dismissed the opposition in this Group Three contest.

Sioux Nation showed he had come on for his run at Navan last month on his first start for 204 days with a dominant performance, to score by a length and a quarter from stable companion Fleet Review in the hands of Ryan Moore.

Sioux Nation won last year's Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and could return next month for the Commonwealth Cup or the King's Stand Stakes.

Speed

"We came here to find out if it was five or six furlongs at Ascot," O'Brien said. "Seamus (Heffernan on Fleet Review) let his lad roll along to make it a good, strong six because we always felt he had a lot of speed and wanted to know whether we'd go for the King's Stand or the Commonwealth Cup.

"Ryan said he has all the speed in the world and he would have no problem going back to five, but maybe let him take on the three-year-olds this year (Commonwealth Cup). He also said he would be looking forward to the Nunthorpe."

The win completed a short-priced treble for the Ballydoyle team as they claimed the opening fillies' maiden over a mile with Broadway (10/11), while Sergei Prokofiev had little trouble landing the odds in the War Command Rochestown Stakes. The latter looks an exciting youngster as he showed plenty pace, being close to the lead in third as Mick Channon's raider Izzer set the pace.

The 2/7 favourite hit the front under Moore and soon put the race to bed. Andre Amar made late gains to take the runner-up spot, some four lengths adrift.

The winner was cut to 5/2 favourite for the Coventry Stakes and O'Brien said: "He's learning and when he gets more pace in front of him it will help. He's very natural and gets there very easy - Ryan is very happy with him."

Brother Bear got back on track when taking Listed honours in the Owenstown Stud Stakes. Since winning at this level nearly 12 months ago at the Curragh, the Jessica Harrington-trained colt had been out of luck, including when a close fourth in the Coventry at Royal Ascot.

Brother Bear (5/2 favourite) had shaped well when third at this venue three weeks ago, and reaped the benefit of that outing by running out a length-and-a-half winner over Riyazan in the hands of Colm O'Donoghue.

Harrington said: "It's great to get him back on track. He had a good run here and that's the first time he's really had good to firm ground since last summer. He definitely appreciates it.

"He might go to (Royal) Ascot for the Jersey. I'm not sure he'd get a mile at this stage - he might do later in his life. I think that is the logical step to go."

Stronger

The Moone, Co Kildare trainer was completing a quick across-the-card double after Jetez went in at Limerick.

And her rich vein of form continued when Servalan (10/1) and Chicas Amigas gave her a 1-2 in the Coolmore Stud Fillies' Sprint Stakes.

The duo had the race to themselves in the closing stages, with Servalan proving the stronger in the hands of Seamie Heffernan to prevail by just over a length. O'Brien's So Perfect, the 4/9 favourite, was only fourth.

The final two races on the card were cancelled in the interests of safety, with a slippery surface on the bend into the home straight following some light rain during the day.

Down at Limerick, the featured Mares Chase went to the Willie Mullins-trained Asthuria which justified 9/4 favouritism in the hands of Robbie Power. This win sealed a double for the champion trainer who earlier sent out Bang Bang Rosie (4/6) to land the mares' maiden hurdle under Rachael Blackmore.

Irish Independent

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