Friday 20 April 2018

Chaucer set to pen more Classic tales

Geoffrey Chaucer and Joseph O'Brien power clear of their rivals to capture the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh yesterday
Geoffrey Chaucer and Joseph O'Brien power clear of their rivals to capture the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh yesterday

Thomas Kelly

IT proved a lucky 13 for Aidan O'Brien in the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes as promising juvenile Geoffrey Chaucer recorded a comfortable success in the Curragh showpiece.

The one-mile Group Two event – which the Ballydoyle supremo had captured on 12 previous occasions – has an illustrious roll of honour having been won by the likes of Alamshar (2002), Azamour (2003), Sea The Stars (2008) and O'Brien's St Nicholas Abbey.

Needless to say, the latest contender to emerge from the Ballydoyle nursery attracted huge support following a debut win at Leopardstown and went off a heavily-backed 4/7 favourite.

Partnered by the trainer's son Joseph, Geoffrey Chaucer was settled in behind rivals until being unleashed to challenge the front-running All Set To Go.

Despite obvious signs of inexperience, the Montjeu colt gradually got on top and was good value for his winning margin of a length and a quarter.

It was a one-two for the Ballydoyle team, with Oklahoma City coming through to grab the runner-up spot.

Coral cut Geoffrey Chaucer to 14/1 from 20/1 for next year's Epsom Derby and he is now set for a step up to Group One level at Doncaster on October 26.

"He didn't learn much the first day and we were hoping there'd be more pace today, which there was," O'Brien Snr reflected. "I'd say he learned plenty today and he was still a bit green when he hit the front. If everything goes to plan, he'll go to Doncaster for the Racing Post Trophy."

Another horse with potential Classic aspirations is the John Oxx-trained My Titania, which claimed Group Three honours in the C.L. Weld Park Stakes.

The first foal of Oxx's incredible colt Sea The Stars to wear the same colours of owner Christopher Tsui, the 11/10 favourite had to be kept up to her work by Declan McDonogh to fend off the challenge of Chicago Girl by half a length.

Oxx stated: "She's a very nice filly and we've high hopes for her. She's by Sea The Stars and she's his first Group winner. It's very nice that he's had his first Group winner in those colours and that we have such a nice filly for the future.

"She won't run any more this year – she's had three runs now and she's pretty sharp in her mind and very alert. If all goes well through the winter and the spring, we'll probably enter her in the English Guineas and in the Oaks at Epsom."

The O'Brien-trained odds-on favourite Guerre had to make do with the runner-up spot in the Listed Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Blenheim Stakes as Paul Deegan's Shining Emerald (7/2) turned in a brilliant display.

"I'm absolutely delighted with him. He quickened well and put it to bed well. He's smart," remarked Deegan. "Hopefully, he will go now for the Killavullan Stakes (Leopardstown, October 26)."

Dermot Weld's Tested (5/1) made a most impressive start to her career with a debut victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

Weld said: "She's definitely a Stakes filly. It was a bit rough early on and she got buffeted about a bit, but Pat (Smullen) took his time and got her balanced. I doubt I'll run her again this year, because unquestionably she's a Group class filly for next year.

"I think she'll learn an awful lot from it (the run), but she has natural talent and that will carry her a long way."

Tommy Stack and Wayne Lordan combined to take the sprint handicap with 10/1 shot Nero Emperor, which got the better of Deegan's English Deer by a head, while trainer-jockey Johnny Murtagh took the one-mile handicap with 4/1 favourite Campanology.

The O'Briens went on to complete a double in the finale when Eye Of The Storm eventually wore down the gutsy Missunited in the Irish Field Loughbrown Stakes.

Firmer

Missunited had finished in front of Eye Of The Storm at Galway, but met the 8/13 favourite on much worse terms on this occasion and on firmer ground

Seamie Heffernan tried to steal it from the front on Missunited and it was not until deep inside the final furlong that the Ballydoyle representative, which only has one eye, got on top by three-quarters of a length.

"We were feeling our way with the trip a bit but Joseph said he got it well in the end," said O'Brien Snr. "I'm not sure if he'll run again, if we don't he's one to look forward to next year."

Meanwhile, Triumph Hurdle hero Our Conor is set to have a run on the Flat in the Irish Cesarewitch before embarking on what could be an exciting jumps campaign.

Owner Barry Connell revealed that the four-year-old will have his first run in his colours in the staying handicap at the Curragh on October 13 before going back over obstacles in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November.

Irish Independent

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