There will be no shortage of horses using this Sunday’s high-class card at Naas as a stepping stone to Royal Ascot and the best of the summer races at home and abroad. The Group 3 Goffs Lacken Stakes and a trio of listed races are the backbone of an exciting programme and have typically attracted a stellar entry.
Heading the way in the afternoon’s feature is Aidan O'Brien’s Sioux Nation, winner of the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last season. O'Brien could also call upon Fleet Review, Dali and Murillo as he bids to add to the victory of subsequent Royal Ascot winner Caravaggio in the race last year.
The Ballydoyle quartet certainly won’t have it all their own way with Adrian Keatley’s The Broghie Man and Joseph O'Brien’s Speak In Colours, nicely ahead of Sioux Nation when separated by just a short-head as they dominated in the Listed Committed Stakes at Navan last month, in the early line-up. Jessica Harrington’s dual winner Brother Bear and the Johnny Murtagh-trained duo Golden Spell and Urban Beat, the latter already a two-time winner this season, add to the intrigue.
The first of three listed races is the Owenstown Stud Stakes which has attracted entries from the Archie Watson-trained Chessman and Mick Channon’s Summer Icon from the other side of the Irish Sea. Jewel Maker made a winning return at Cork earlier in the month and could yet represent Dermot Weld while course winner Marshall Jennings, trained by Jessica Harrington, and Michael Halford’s Riyazan also look to have leading chances. Michael Grassick has entered last year’s winner Texas Rock and he too enters the reckoning.
Channon has put his dual winner Izzer in the Listed Coolmore War Command Rochestown Stakes. More recent winners engaged include Jessica Harrington’s Dandys Ocean, Aidan O’Brien’s Land Force and the Michael O’Callaghan-trained Recon Mission which were all winners at the Curragh last weekend. O’Brien has also entered his runaway Navan winner Sergei Prokofiev.
There are four previous winners among the 12 entries for the Listed Coolmore Stud EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes headed by Ballydoyle’s course and distance winner Fairyland and the Navan winner So Perfect. Chicas Amigas and Scitter Scatter won at Dundalk for trainers Jessica Harrington and Patrick Prendergast and are certainly deserving of their place in a contest of this calibre.
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