Crypto Force aiming to make Ganay impact

Crypto Force looks to hit his stride as he takes a maiden voyage to France for the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp.

The Amo Racing-owned colt defeated Auguste Rodin on debut in 2022 and went on to score at Group Two level in the Beresford Stakes at the latter end of that season.

Those runs were for Michael O’Callaghan and after missing the 2023 season, he was then based with John and Thady Gosden for a spell before joining Adrian Murray, for whom he made his first start in the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh last weekend.

There he was partnered by Amo’s retained jockey in David Egan and finished sixth of 10 runners as White Birch took the race by a neck.

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Murray hopes he will come on for that run as he travels to the French capital for the Group One Ganay on Sunday.

Crypto Force at the Curragh
Crypto Force at the Curragh (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I would say we might have made too much use of him and I would say he was always going to be ring rusty,” he said.

“He looked to be the last off the bridle, but just making the running with him and his rustiness cost him at the finish.

“We’re expecting a big improvement now and he had not run in a long time.

“The main thing is he came out of the race sound, he’s bounced out 100 per cent so hopefully he can improve on that.”

There is a German challenger in the field in Sarah Steinberg’s Fantastic Moon, winner of the Deutsches Derby and the Prix Niel last season.

The Sea The Moon colt was then 11th in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and started his campaign this time round in the Preis von Dahlwitz at Hoppegarten.

There he was beaten a length and a half by Henk Grewe’s Mr Hollywood, a smart horse in his own right and second in the Grosser Preis von Baden last season.

Now Fantastic Moon heads back to Longchamp where connections hope conditions will be quick enough for him to thrive.

Lars-Wilhelm Baumgarten of owners Liberty Racing said: “He is going great, he has had a workout with (jockey) Rene Piechulek and he worked well.

“We are optimistic for Sunday, he returned very well from his race in Berlin.

“We need good ground, that’s the problem at this moment, rain could come on Saturday and the ground is OK at the moment, but probably a little bit too soft for us to bring our A-game.

“It is our plan to run there and if it’s not heavy ground, he will run.”

Al Riffa at the Curragh
Al Riffa at the Curragh (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

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Joseph O’Brien will run Al Riffa, a Wootton Bassett colt who enjoyed a successful if brief campaign last season.

After a juvenile year that saw him win the Group One Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, the bay was second in both the International Stakes and the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano, where he finished behind the subsequent Arc winner Ace Impact.

The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is on the radar for Al Riffa this season and O’Brien hopes the Ganay will prove the perfect starting point to progress towards that goal.

“I guess the dream is that he might turn into an Arc-type horse but we’ll take to race by race as we do,” O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing.

“The Ganay is a logical stepping stone, or a starting point, for what we hope is a top class middle-distance campaign.

“He never had anything significant but he had two setbacks last season, he had an infection in preparation for the Irish Guineas and then after two prep runs for the Champion Stakes, he was lame on the evening of the race.

“It was a frustrating season last year but his ownership group have been patient and hopefully our patience will be rewarded this year.”

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