Olivia Maralda team pondering Group Three debut at Naas

Michael O’Callaghan could pitch newcomer Olivia Maralda in at the deep end on Royal Ascot Trials Day at Naas on Sunday.

A 460,000 guineas purchase at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up sale last month, the daughter of Kodiac is part-owned by Brazilian footballer Philippe Coutinho, who is currently playing in the Premier League for Aston Villa on loan from Barcelona.

Olivia Maralda has reportedly been showing her trainer the right signs ahead of her potential racecourse debut in the Group Three Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes.

O’Callaghan said: “Olivia Maralda is working well and we’re very happy with her. She cost plenty of money but I think she’s a decent filly.

Trainer Michael O’Callaghan
Trainer Michael O’Callaghan (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“Philippe Coutinho owns half of her, they’re trying to get the registration sorted in time so his name appears on the racecard.

“We’ll see how she works during the week, but I wouldn’t be concerned about pitching her in at Group Three level on debut. I think she’s going to end up at that level on her second start anyway, so I wouldn’t be worried at all.

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“If everything goes to plan, we would be looking at bringing her to Royal Ascot for the Albany.”

Olivia Maralda is one of 12 entries for Sunday’s six-furlong contest, with Aidan O’Brien responsible for course-and-distance winner Deneuve and impressive Curragh scorer Meditate.

Other contenders include Kieran Cotter’s Matilda Picotte, Jessica Harrington’s It’s Showtime Baby and Karl Burke’s possible British raider Miss Jungle Cat.

In the Listed Sole Power Sprint Stakes, O’Callaghan is looking forward to saddling Twilight Jet, who is set to make his first appearance since finishing down the field at the Breeders’ Cup.

“He got a good break after the Breeders’ Cup and it was always the plan to start him back here after that,” O’Callaghan added.

“He’s working well and will improve for the run, but we expect him to run well. The plan after that, all going well, is that he will go for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

“We’re very happy with him and Naas is a nice place to start him off and Royal Ascot Trials Day the appropriate day to do it we hope.”

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