Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 26 April 2018

Caravaggio to draw in punters at Naas

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

The loss to French racegoers is the gain of those of Naas, with Caravaggio to commence his three-year-old career for Aidan O'Brien at the Kildare venue tomorrow.

The son of Scat Daddy was a possibility for the Gallic Guineas, yet doubts persist about his stamina for a mile, to the extent that it now seems that Coolmore is plotting a campaign over shorter. They need a stallion away from the Galileo line and this colt could turn into one of their best ones in the future.

Caravaggio takes his chance in the EMS Copiers Lacken Stakes, an exceptionally strong event for a Group Three. Though he carries a penalty, the mount of Ryan Moore should have too much class for these, with Khukri perhaps capable of chasing him home.

Caravaggio was a best-odds 4/1 for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June last night, but that was drying up in apparent anticipation of a big run at Naas.

This is an excellent fixture at Naas, where there is a slight ease in the ground. Realt Rua, whose trainer Willie McCreery has had such a superb campaign, is put forward after a pleasing debut. The Showcasing-bred was third at this track recently behind a stablemate, with more likely to come.

The Listed Owenstown Stud Stakes sees O'Brien's Whitecliffsofdover, which won at Naas at two, take on some elders. The War Front colt has this in the bag on ratings and, proving that he has trained on by winning at Newmarket, he is difficult to get away from.

The sponsors target the Coolmore War Command Rochestown Stakes with another course victor, Dali, but this is a stern test of the qualities of the twice-raced colt, and narrow preference is for True Blue Moon, trained by Joseph O'Brien

The Holy Roman Emperor-bred beat Dali on his debut pretty comfortably, and he appeals as the type to improve farther. Keep an eye too on Mamba Noire, a filly by Wootton Bassett which produced a performance on debut at Cork that was laden with class.

There is a notable raider in the race, as Richard Fahey sends Simmy's Copshop across the Irish Sea in search of Listed honours. The Bahamian Bounty colt showed plenty of promise of winning first time out at Nottingham in a race that has worked out well.

"His form has worked out rock solid. The second (Havana Grey) has gone to win by five lengths since and the fifth (Neola) has won by seven lengths, so he's pretty smart," Fahey told At The Races.

"He's to step up but we've been very happy with him since. We're taking on the Irish at home but Middleham Park (owners) have won this race there two or three times and it's normally a pretty smart horse that wins that race."

The penultimate race could see Have A Nice Day score on his seasonal return. He has his first start for John Feane and, if he can get to the lead, he may be difficult to reel in under his 7lb claimer. Naas' finale is one of the more difficult races for punters to solve. Chronicles, a Godolphin horse which has done little so far, may be the answer for Jim Bolger.

There is some intriguing French action today. Our friends there may not get to see Caravaggio but they will be able to enjoy Meri Devie run in today's Prix After Foot RMC - Prix Questarabad at Auteuil.

Ruby Walsh partners the filly, which began her life in France before a switch to Willie Mullins. She ran at only one of the major Festivals this spring - at Punchestown - and as such comes here rather fresh.

There is a concern that Walsh will not be able to waste his waist to such an extent that he can do the 9st 13lbs, so that is something to consider.

Mullins also runs Open Eagle and Shaneshill, taking on L'ami Serge in a superb renewal of the Grade Two Prix les Grandes Gueules du Sport - Prix la Barka this afternoon.

Irish Independent

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