Nagle has grounds for optimism
David Nagle, who only recently graduated to being a full-licence holder, has embarked on another cross-channel mission with his highly progressive stable-star Maarek.
Already this term, Fethard-based Nagle has plundered two valuable events with the much-improved five-year-old and Saturday's Group Three Hackwood Stakes at Newbury is the next port of call.
Successful in a soft ground handicap under Joseph O'Brien at Newmarket on Guineas weekend, before sluicing up in bottomless conditions to deliver both Nagle and former jump jockey Graham Lee a first Group win at Newcastle, Maarek's effectiveness in testing going has helped him to exploit greater opportunities for sprinters in England.
"He's in good form and he's taking his races well," the fledgling handler reported of his Pivotal gelding yesterday. "The ground was desperate at Newcastle and he coped -- he's a completely different horse in those conditions and Newcastle was probably his easiest win. Obviously, we are hoping it is soft at Newbury."
The official going at the Berkshire venue is currently soft and Nagle, speaking from a rain-swept England en route to the Berkshire track, quipped: "We think this weather is beautiful."
He added that dual champion jockey Paul Hanagan would replace Lee, who is expected to be on duty at Newmarket on Saturday. "It's disappointing having to change jockeys again, but it's one of those weeks. Anyway, he's not a bad replacement, is he?"
Eddie Lynam's Slade Power, a winner at Haydock last month on much quicker going, is also among the 24 entries for the six-furlong contest, as is Definightly, which travelled in the opposite direction to land the Sapphire Stakes for Roger Charlton at the Curragh on Irish Derby Day.
Victorious in three of his five career starts and second on the other two, the three-year-old Slade Power also featured among 17 entries that appeared yesterday for Sunday's Listed Belgrave Stakes at Fairyhouse.
Meanwhile, there will be just a single Irish-trained runner on day 1 of Newmarket's July meeting tomorrow. Gale Force Ten, an unlucky runner-up when finishing on the opposite side of the track to the eventual winner Reckless Abandon in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, will represent Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore in the July Stakes.
Plenty of the Ascot juvenile form will be tested out in the Group Two contest as Richard Hannon's Alhebayeb went close in the Windsor Castle when second to Hototo. Hannon also runs Sir Prancelot, fourth in the Coventry.
Imperial Monarch, Ballydoyle's Sandown Classic trial winner, which was a late withdrawal from the Irish Derby, has also been left in Saturday's Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.
Just seven stood their ground for the one-and-a-half-mile Group One at the latest forfeit stage, with bookmaker Paddy Power making Imperial Monarch their 6/4 market leader to become O'Brien's second winner of the race following Scorpion in 2005.
Main Sequence, runner-up to Camelot in the Epsom Derby for Tipperary-born David Lanigan, is next best at 5/2 for what some consider to be the de facto French Derby ever since the traditional equivalent, the Prix du Jockey Club, was shortened to 10 furlongs in 2005.
Andre Fabre has a great record in the race and his challenge is led by Saint Baudolino, which was a narrow second in the Jockey Club.