Tag Archive for: Prettiest

Point Lonsdale primed for National Stakes

Point Lonsdale will put his unbeaten record on the line in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend.

The Ballydoyle colt has completed a flawless sequence of four runs and four victories so far, taking a maiden at the Curragh in June and then going on to win the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group Three Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown.

A graduation to Group Two level followed in the Futurity Stakes, again at the Curragh, where Point Lonsdale was a comfortable winner once more – by almost five lengths.

Group One company awaits the juvenile on Sunday week.

“He was very impressive the first day at the Curragh – then he went to Ascot, and every day after that he’s never done anything but please,” said trainer Aidan O’Brien.

“He’s very straightforward, (and) everything has gone very well with him.

“He’s a lovely horse. He’s a good mover and he doesn’t mind making the running – we’re delighted to have him really.”

Point Lonsdale is by Australia – who won the Derby, the Irish Derby and the Juddmonte International for O’Brien – and the trainer has noticed a striking similarity between father and son in terms of temperament.

“He’s absolutely the very same as his dad – he was one of those very rare horses that didn’t have any fight or flight response,” he said.

“That’s very rare – and what that means is that when you put him in first gear, he stays in first gear and then goes into second gear if you want him to.

“He doesn’t decide to go into any gear by himself – he’s always waiting to be told what to do.

“It’s a trait that’s very unusual, and that sort of horse always saves (himself) for when you want. When they’re like that and they have the class that he has – and do those fractions – it’s a very serious weapon to have.”

Point Lonsdale’s placid nature means he does not necessarily need a stablemate to smooth him a path through the race – and he could therefore be Ballydole’s sole runner in the National Stakes.

“He’s a horse that’s very happy to stand alone – he’s happy to do his own thing,” added O’Brien.

“If someone is there to help him, fine – but if not, he’s happy to plough his own furrow.”

Elsewhere on the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend, O’Brien has another juvenile Group One hope in the shape of Prettiest in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

The Dubawi filly was well beaten in the Phoenix Stakes last time out, but her trainer feels that speed test was not ideal and that a return to seven furlongs could see her at her best.

Amhran Na Bhfiann may be part of Aidan O'Brien's Irish St Leger contingen
Amhran Na Bhfiann may be part of Aidan O’Brien’s Irish St Leger contingent (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“We ran her in the Phoenix, and it probably wasn’t the right thing and wasn’t fair,” he said.

“The pace was strong early, and we went with the pace, but she’s probably a filly that wants seven furlongs or a mile.

“She’s in good form recently, (and) a strongly-run seven furlongs we think, and hope, will suit her. She seems to have come out of the last race well, and we hope she will leave it behind her.”

O’Brien is likely to have several contenders in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger, with Galileo filly Passion leading the team.

Grand Prix de Paris runner-up Wordsworth may also take his chance alongside 2020 Derby winner Serpentine – while confirmed stayers Santiago and Amhran Na Bhfiann both hold entries.

“Passion has been going there for a good while – she’s had a few runs,” said O’Brien.

“Wordsworth could go back there, and Serpentine could go there. Santiago is a possible, and Amhran Na Bhfiann is a possible.

“We could have a few more than one or two in that, but Passion is the one that’s had her eye on it for a while – and Wordsworth. Serpentine won his maiden around there, so that would be interesting as well.”

Point Lonsdale tests credentials in Tyros Stakes

Aidan O’Brien’s next great hope Point Lonsdale puts his reputation on the line in the Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown.

The Australia colt maintained his unbeaten record in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot – beating Reach For The Moon, himself an easy winner subsequently.

Speaking after his Ascot win, O’Brien said of Point Lonsdale ‘I hope he’s a Classic horse that can go for the Guineas and the Derby’ – and he is already favourite for both those races.

He faces four rivals on Thursday – including the unexposed Maritime Wings, trained by O’Brien’s son Joseph, who was bought by Team Valor after winning at Leopardstown on debut.

“We’ve been happy with Point Lonsdale since Ascot – everything has gone well with him since,” said O’Brien.

“It was pretty soft at Ascot, and he likes nice ground. He’s a lovely-moving horse, so that should be in his favour this time.”

O’Brien is also represented in the other Group Three on the card, the Frank Conroy Silver Flash Stakes, by Prettiest – who finished a fair fourth in the Albany Stakes at Ascot.

The form of that race has subsequently been given a boost by the winner and second, who went on to finish first and third in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.

“We were very happy with her run in the Albany,” said O’Brien.

“She came back quick enough after her maiden win – but we’ve been happy since, and everything has gone well with her.

“We didn’t think the step up in trip would be a problem for her.”

Ger Lyons is represented by Juncture, second on debut to O’Brien’s Contarelli Chapel before winning easily next time.

She is owned by Juddmonte, and their racing manager Barry Mahon said: “She’s a very nice filly and she’s training nicely. She won well on her last start, and now she’s stepping up to Group company tomorrow.

“It’s a small but very competitive field. Aidan O’Brien’s filly (Prettiest) is going to be tough to beat on her fourth in the Albany.

“We like our filly and we’re hoping she’s going to progress now in the second half of the year.”

Prettiest takes the eye in Navan victory

Prettiest distinguished herself as a juvenile with obvious potential as she posted an emphatic, all-the-way victory on her debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at Navan.

Aidan O’Brien’s daughter of Dubawi, out of the yard’s dual Group One winner Alice Springs, lived up to her exemplary pedigree to win by three-quarters of a length at 5-2 under Seamie Heffernan from favourite Lopes Gold.

The two market principals were to the fore throughout, with Prettiest establishing an early advantage from the outset and maintaining it with relative comfort.

Heffernan said: “Her homework suggested that she was ready to start,” said Heffernan.

“I was keen to canter down to the start in front as that’s the way I wanted to ride her, forward.

“I’d say she’s a nice filly and she has a beautiful pedigree.

“They won’t all improve and progress as you’d like but she’s built like a two-year-old so she should progress into being a nice two-year-old.”

Albion Square justified 9-4 favouritism, a second successive juvenile to lead throughout, as he took the Lynn Lodge Stud Irish EBF Maiden on his third career start for jockey Shane Foley and trainer Jessica Harrington.

The Acclamation colt – for whom connections may have Royal Ascot ambitions – was second to another winning Ballydoyle debutant, The Entertainer, over half a furlong further than this minimum trip at the same course two weeks ago.

After Albion Square’s breakthrough victory, Foley said: “He was good. I think he was beaten by a very smart horse the last day, although I know the winner was disappointing afterwards.

“We like this horse  – we think he’s a very good horse. He was a bit lit up today, after having a couple of races, and I didn’t even hit him.

“He’s a nice horse going forward and could be a horse for the Windsor Castle.

“I walked the track beforehand and thought the best ground was middle to stands side. It’s yielding, dead ground, but that’s the best of it out there.”

Lord McZie surged late to spring a 66-1 shock in the GAIN The Advantage Series Handicap, providing 17-year-old jockey Conor Clarke with his first winner, from only his second ride on the Flat.

Ray Hackett’s four-year-old did not appear to be especially outrunning his odds until gathering late momentum to cut through the field and win by a head from Art Of Unity.

Tipperary teenager Clarke said: “That’s unbelievable – I can’t put it into words.

“I became apprentice to Ray about two months ago.  This is only my second ride, and I’m delighted to get off the mark.

“My first ride was in Mallow on that lad as well, over a mile. He was probably a bit out of his depth then – but he ran well all the same, and we had high hopes coming here today.

“I thought I was gone with a few hundred yards to race but saw a bit of a gap again, and he pricked his ears and rallied well for me again.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d won it, because I saw a horse on my outside, but one of the lads said well done to me – and I was delighted.”

The John Joseph Murphy-trained Charterhouse (100-30) was not winning out of turn in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race, having faced three Group-race assignments since winning his maiden at the Curragh in August, including the National Stakes and Middle Park.

George Murphy, assistant to his father, said: “I was pleased with that, he seemed to stay at it very well.

“Robbie (Colgan) just said the ground felt slow and very sticky on him. He definitely didn’t enjoy it, but he got through it.

“We’ll have a talk with the owners and make a plan. I think he’s more than entitled to go back into stakes company.

“I’d say a mile and we’ll definitely stick to proper good ground now.”

Star Harbour broke his duck, at a seventh career attempt, in the feature Royal County Handicap.

Ado McGuinness’ son of Sea The Stars, in a first-time visor after being tried in blinkers on his most recent start, had never previously got closer than when edged out in a photo finish as an odds-on favourite at Dundalk in February.

Chris Hayes, riding Star Harbour for the first time, employed the front-running tactics which had worked for the winners of the first two races – and his partner showed great determination to fend off all challengers and prevail by three and a quarter lengths at 22-1, joint longest price in the nine-runner field.

McGuinness said: “We put blinkers on him last time, but he missed the break and got caught in behind.

“He put it to bed fairly quickly (this time). He’ll be nice for a mile-and-a-half handicap at Galway – or as regards closer plans, I was talking about the Ulster Derby.

“I think he will stay a mile-and-a-half, and I’d say that’s where he’ll go next.”

Venice Biennale completed a double for the Murphy yard, winning the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Fillies Maiden under Oisin Orr.

The daughter of Farhh made a promising debut when fourth at the Curragh just last weekend, and appears progressive after this four-and-quarter-length win from White Pepper.

She challenged in the final two furlongs, and then scooted clear.

Murphy said: “She was a little bit green in the Curragh the last day. She’s a filly we’ve always really liked.

“She’s a big lady and took a little bit of time to come to hand. We’ll probably look for a black-type race for her now – she’s a nice one to go forward with.”