Thursday 26 April 2018

O'Brien's 'Warrior' to conquer Beresford rivals

O’Brien’s Saxon Warrior made a huge impression on his racecourse debut at the Curragh. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
O’Brien’s Saxon Warrior made a huge impression on his racecourse debut at the Curragh. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

The once-raced Saxon Warrior spearheads a three-pronged attack from Aidan O'Brien on tomorrow's Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at Naas.

The Ballydoyle supremo has claimed the prestigious juvenile prize on 16 occasions in the last 21 years, with Septimus (2005), St Nicholas Abbey (2009) and last year's hero Capri among those on the roll of honour for Ballydoyle.

The most famous recent winner of the Group Two prize is undoubtedly the brilliant Sea The Stars (2008), which was so masterfully trained by John Oxx.

O'Brien's Saxon Warrior, a son of Japanese superstar Deep Impact, made a huge impression on his racecourse debut at the Curragh and Ryan Moore's mount is bound to be popular with punters despite taking a big step-up in grade.

He is joined by stablemates Kew Gardens and Delano Roosevelt, which were second and third in a Group Three at Leopardstown a fortnight ago.

Mick Halford saddles the fourth from that race, Riyazan, and the small but select field is completed by the Brendan Duke-trained Warm The Voice.

The son of Vocalised, who carries the colours of Jim and Jackie Bolger, has won his last three starts and steps up to Pattern level for the first time.

The Beresford Stakes is supported by a trio of Group Threes, the first of which is the CL & MF Weld Park Stakes. O'Brien is represented by Athena, Ballet Shoes and Sizzling, while Karl Burke's Ellthea and the Charlie Hills-trained Juliet Foxtrot are two notable challengers from across the water with the latter getting the nod.

Just four go to post for the Loughbrown Stakes over what will be a stamina-sapping two miles. Willie Mullins and Pat Smullen team up with Renneti, while fellow leading National Hunt trainer Henry de Bromhead sends Stars Over The Sea into battle.

O'Brien's Wild Irish Rose and James Fanshawe's Return Ace are the other contenders.

The final Pattern race on offer is the Renaissance Stakes, which is headlined by Burke's Quiet Reflection, but Joe Murphy's course-and-distance winner Only Mine can keep the prize at home.

Dermot Weld will be keen to have a winner on the card and his lightly-raced Espoir D'Soleil could prove the answer in the closing one-mile handicap.

Navan is the venue for today's action, with the track hosting a less-than-illuminating seven-race National Hunt card which gets under way with a 30-runner maiden hurdle.

Mengli Khan should oblige in this for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy, who will have high hopes of landing the Meath Farm Machinery Hurdle with Masterson but the vote here goes to Noel Meade's Moulin A Vent.

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