Davison eager for Mooneista to return to winning ways

Mooneista could have her sights lowered on her next appearance after being narrowly denied in her bid for back-to-back victories in the Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.

Jack Davison’s star mare was favourite to successfully defend her crown following an excellent effort to finish fourth behind Australian speedball Nature Strip in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.

But after leading inside the final furlong under Colin Keane, Mooneista was nabbed in the final stride by the Johnny Murtagh-trained Ladies Church, with a short head separating the pair at the line.

While small margin of defeat will have been hard to take for connections, Davison is full of pride after Mooneista was carried out on her shield.

He said: “She left it all out there and it was just the way the race set up. Colin had to make the move when he did and it set up beautifully for the winner, but that’s sprinting and I don’t think our filly lost anything in defeat, so we look forward to a rematch.

“She’s flying at the moment and growing into it the whole time. She always gives 100 per cent and is comfortable travelling at those strong speeds.

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“We’re looking forward to the remainder of the season, with big targets ahead, but we might look at a softer target next, just to try to get her to win and get her confidence up a little bit.”

Mooneista is set to return to Group One level in the Flying Five Stakes back at the Curragh in September, a race in which she failed to fire last season.

Davison feels the decision to head straight from the Sapphire to the Flying Five backfired, hence the reason why he is keen to give her an intermediate outing this time around.

Trainer Jack Davison at the Curragh
Trainer Jack Davison at the Curragh (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“She didn’t run her race in the Flying Five last year and with hindsight maybe she needs a run sort of three or four weeks before that,” the trainer added.

“There’s a Group Three at Naas at the end of August over six furlongs for fillies only. We’ll see how she is nearer the time, but that’s what we’re thinking at the minute.

“The Flying Five was sort of priority number one and she’s going to have entries for the Prix de l’Abbaye and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

“She’s a bit of a dream to be honest, so hopefully she can cap it off by winning a Group One, or even if she got Group One placed it would be a massive feather in her cap.”

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