Sunday 25 February 2018

Hughes hails Boy wonder

Richard hannon: trains Paco Boy
Richard hannon: trains Paco Boy

J A McGrath

Richard Hughes is convinced Paco Boy is a better horse this year after Richard Hannon's star miler won the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The five-year-old swept to victory with consummate ease -- his third Group One triumph -- to silence even the sternest of any remaining critics.

"It's just nice he's won another one. We felt he was a better horse this year in his work at home," said the jockey.

"There's no point in kicking on if you don't have to, but he does have that explosive burst of speed. He's definitely a better horse this year. Even his neck is bigger."

The Kildare native believes both Paco Boy and English 2,000 Guineas third Canford Cliffs, which goes for the Irish equivalent on Saturday, are effective from six furlongs to a mile.

"Canford Cliffs has proven he gets a mile. Paco could always go back to six furlongs, as could Canford Cliffs," Hughes stated. "We would like to show people how good Canford is and he'll have his day in Ireland maybe.

"Most good horses have enough speed for six. People in England are a bit old fashioned and think about only going for a mile."

Like Paco Boy, Green Moon could also be Royal Ascot-bound following his runaway success in the London Gold Cup Handicap.

"He's been a hard one to evaluate because he won what looked a poor maiden at Leicester," said trainer Harry Dunlop. "But we will certainly consider the Royal Ascot option (King Edward VII Stakes)."

Godolphin dominated the finish of the Aston Park Stakes, in which Claremont, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, proved one-and-a-quarter lengths too strong for the Saeed bin Suroor inmate Sabotage.

Meanwhile, Presvis must be ranked one of the unluckiest horses in training. Yesterday, the six-year-old's hopes of avenging narrow defeat in last year's Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji ended when he was bumped and lost a shoe in the run to the first turn in the £1.4m race.

From that point, the Luca Cumani-trained gelding struggled on ground that had been drenched in a torrential downpour earlier in the day. Battling courageously after being checked again inside the final furlong, Presvis still finished strongly to clinch fifth, six lengths from winner Lizard's Desire, which beat Gloria De Campeao half a length in a thrilling finish.

Ryan Moore successfully completed the dash from Newbury racecourse to Singapore, a journey of more than 15 hours, but he knew 'Operation Presvis' was pointless in the first 100 yards.

Victory came as compensation for hard-working Kevin Shea aboard the Mike de Kock-trained Lizard's Desire. The same combination had been beaten a nose by Gloria De Campeao in the Dubai World Cup in March, though Shea believed he had got up in the last stride after fellow jockey Ahmed Ajtebi congratulated him on pulling up.

Irish Independent

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