Contarelli Chapel bids to build on her impressive debut victory when she steps up to Group Three company for the Coolmore Stud EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas on Sunday.
The half-sister to last year’s French Oaks and Nassau Stakes heroine rocketed home by five and a half lengths over this course and distance three weeks ago.
She now puts her Royal Ascot credentials to the test, with trainer Aidan O’Brien gave a positive update on the daughter of Caravaggio.
“She seems in good form since winning at Naas,” he said.
“She hasn’t done much obviously, but we’re very happy with her since. This will tell us what our next option will be, whether that’s Royal Ascot or somewhere else, but we are happy with her.
“Having won already in Naas is obviously a positive and we were delighted with her that day.”
Contarelli Chapel’s rivals include two from Jim Bolger’s stable – course and distance scorer Freedom Of Speech and Missing Matron.
O’Brien relies solely on Dundalk maiden winner Cadamosto for the Coolmore Stud Calyx Race over five furlongs. The son of No Nay Never was an impressive winner on debut last month and takes on five challengers on his first start on turf.
“We have been happy with him since Dundalk. Like Contarelli Chapel, we’ll run him again to see if Royal Ascot is an option for him, but we’ve been happy with how he has progressed from his first run,” said the Ballydoyle handler.
Michael O’Callaghan has a fascinating debutant in Twilight Jet, who cost £210,000 at the breeze-up sales.
“Since we’ve got him, we’ve been very pleased with him. He came highly recommended from the usual source – Tally-Ho Stud’s Roger O’Callaghan. He’s a great attitude, with a bit of class and a lot of natural speed,” said O’Callaghan.
“We’re pitching him into a winners’ race because we think that’s the level he belongs in. He’s good and forward, very sharp, knows his job. Potentially, he may be a horse for Royal Ascot so we have to get him started sooner rather than later.
“I’m really looking forward to starting him but there’s no pressure on him. He’ll be ridden to run well and if he could go close that would be great.”
Ken Condon is happy to step Laws Of Indices down to six furlongs for the Group Three Lacken Stakes after last year’s Railway Stakes victor finished fifth to Poetic Flare in the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardsown last month.
“He’s been very well since he ran in the Guineas Trial – and of course, it goes without saying the form of that is working out very well,” said Condon.
“He’s in very good form. He has a penalty on Sunday, but he’s entitled to carry that for what he did last year.
“We’re looking forward to it, and he’s in good shape. It was a very nice comeback run under a penalty – I was pleased with that, and I think he’s come forward for it.
“He’s a hard horse to read, to be categorical about his optimum.
“There were diverging opinions, but I think the owners as a collective decided after the Guineas Trial to target this race and come back in trip.”
O’Brien is double-handed with Giorgio Vasari and Lipizzaner.
He said: “Lipizzaner was having his first run of the season at Navan and the winner, Measure Of Magic won at Cork last week but I would expect him to come forward from that and we’re looking forward to a good run. Giorgio Vasari is in good form but he wouldn’t want too much rain.”
O’Callaghan is looking forward to giving Steel Bull his seasonal reappearance in the Sole Power Sprint Stakes.
“We’re very happy with Steel Bull,” he said.
“About a month ago he had a touch of a temperature and he was a little bit sick so we just had to take our time with him. We were happy to do that so early in the season.
“In the last 10 days he has come forward very well. We’re very happy with him in his coat, the way he’s working and his attitude. He’s bouncing at home at the minute.
“Over the winter he’s developed very well, he’s strengthened up and grown a little bit. He looks like a horse who’s trained on and could potentially make it into a high-class sprinter in time.”
A 12-strong field includes sprint regulars such as Make A Challenge, Urban Beat, Harry’s Bear and Downforce.