French Claim puts down marker for staying honours at Navan

Irish Derby third French Claim is to be campaigned over staying trips in future having landed short odds on his comeback at Navan.

Trained by Paddy Twomey, French Claim was beaten only five lengths in the St Leger at Doncaster before disappointing in the Irish Cesarewitch.

Sent off the 4-9 favourite, he had no trouble in winning the Navan Racecourse Race under Billy Lee, with his main predicted market rival Okita Soushi an absentee, and Twomey is now eyeing up the Vintage Crop Stakes back at Navan next month.

“It was a nice to get a lead (from front-running Oriental Eagle), he has form on that (soft) ground, won on it in Listowel and Cork but he is pretty versatile. He’s good fresh,” said Twomey.

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“The end of last year was a bit of a mess so hopefully this year we’ll have a good year. I’d say he’ll come back here for the Vintage Crop Stakes.

“He was third in the Irish Derby, but he hasn’t won a stakes race yet, so we’ll try to win one and take the steps from there.

“Today was just to take the first step and hopefully he’ll improve. Staying isn’t a problem to him.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Gooloogong (5-2 favourite) stepped up markedly on his Dundalk debut to defy a market drift and win the Maiden under Ryan Moore.

Fifth of 10 on the all-weather, the Australia colt – who is entered in the Derby and Irish Derby – was always to the fore this time around and pulled nicely clear with Dermot Weld’s Nation’s Call.

Gooloogong found more close home to win by two and a quarter lengths.

Stable representative Chris Armstrong said: “He obviously had the one run at Dundalk last year and it stood to him.

“He’s been progressing nicely over the winter and he’s a horse that we thought had come forward an awful lot.

“Ryan gave him a lovely ride and spoke very nicely of him. He’ll fit into one of the trials now and we’ll see how he goes.

“He’s a mile-and-a-quarter plus horse. He has a lovely attitude and is a typical Australia. He’s a nice horse to go forward with for the year, hopefully.”

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