O’Callaghan has Breeders’ Cup on the agenda for Twilight Jet

Michael O’Callaghan has his sights set on the Breeders’ Cup with Newmarket winner Twilight Jet.

The tough and consistent colt has barely put a foot wrong in top company all year, and was fully deserving of the Group Three honours he picked up in the Cornwallis Stakes on the Rowley Mile on Friday.

O’Callaghan’s ace is now set to round off his year at Del Mar next month.

“Hopefully he’s going to the Breeders Cup now. It’ll be his 11th start of the year,” the County Kildare trainer said.

“After he won the other day I was saying ‘I’ll give this lad a break’ – but he arrived home the next morning and he told me different.

“He absolutely loves racing, he has a great constitution. He’s just a bit of an animal, he loves his job and he’s a dream to train.

“He’s won the Cornwallis now and he’s danced every dance this year so whatever he does at the Breeders’ Cup will be a bonus.”

He added: “If he goes there in good fettle he’ll run a big race. He runs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and we’re looking forward to it.”

Twilight jets to Group Three triumph in Cornwallis

Twilight Jet made it fifth time lucky on his excursions to Britain when running out a clear-cut winner of the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes.

Trained by Michael O’Callaghan in Ireland, the Twilight Son colt had run with credit in the Norfolk Stakes, the Gimcrack and the Champagne Stakes – and led the field for a long way in the Middle Park two weeks ago.

Down a furlong in trip, he burst clear inside the final furlong to justify 2-1 favouritism by two lengths. Illustrating made late gains into second, while Guilded was third.

“It’s lovely to win a race like the Cornwallis and he’s danced every dance this year, that was his 10th start. He’s an amazing horse,” said O’Callaghan.

“He’s been getting better with every run, his ratings tell you that, and I imagine if I wanted I could run him again in two weeks – (but) he’s done enough for the year now, I’d say.

“He was only 50 yards off winning the Middle Park and next year he could potentially be a Commonwealth Cup horse. Once he strengthens up six furlongs won’t be a problem.

“He set a good gallop in a good renewal of the Middle Park and put them all to the sword, but I’m just glad he’s got his head in front in a Group race.

“He’s got everything you need to progress into being a Group One horse next year.”

He added: “I’ve had some good two-year-olds, but he’s probably the best I’ve trained just for the fact he’s had so much racing and he just keeps getting better and keeps improving. We don’t know if we’ve got to the bottom of him yet.”

Ribbon Rose (25-1) made a winning debut in the Godolphin Under Starters Orders Maiden Fillies’ Stakes for Marco Botti.

Ridden confidently by Neil Callan, who partnered Botti’s impressive Tatsumaki last week, Botti confirmed the pair would link up more often next season.

“She’s always been a bit backward and has just taken time to come to hand. She’s only been in fast work about a month, but she’s been working nicely,” said Botti.

Ribbon Rose (blue sleeves) made a winning debut under Neil Callan
Ribbon Rose (blue sleeves) made a winning debut under Neil Callan (Tim Goode/PA)

“Neil sat on her a couple of weeks ago and said she gave him a good feel, but in these races you never no what you’ve got to take on.

“I think we’ll probably put her away now, she’s still a little bit weak and hopefully she’s a black-type filly next year.

“Neil is riding well, he’s a very good jockey with plenty of experience, he’s a good asset to the yard. He’ll ride a few more next year as well.”

Ville De Grace narrowly sees off Lilac Road
Ville De Grace narrowly sees off Lilac Road (Tim Goode/PA)

Sir Michael Stoute’s Ville De Grace (4-1) was a Listed winner at Yarmouth last time out, and handled the step up to Group Three company in style in the closing Newmarket Pony Academy Pride Stakes.

Ville De Grace appeared to have put the race to bed a furlong out, only for Lilac Road to emerge from the pack with a persistent challenger – but Richard Kingscote’s mount held on by half a length.

Stoute’s assistant James Savage said: “She seems to have done nothing but improve all year and is very versatile regards ground, but it’s fairly obvious 10 furlongs is her best trip.

“Richard said he got left in front a bit soon – but when the other horse came he knew she’d pick up again, and she’s in great form.

“That will be it this year. She’s ending the season on a good note, and we hope she stays in training, but the owners will discuss that with Sir Michael.

Twilight could Jet into Middle Park picture

Michael O’Callaghan will consider supplementing Twilight Jet for next week’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

The promising juvenile has kept smart company since opening his account at Tipperary in early June, performing well on his last couple of starts to finish third in both the Gimcrack Stakes at York and Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Having decided against running in this weekend’s Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, the Twilight Son colt now looks set to be return to Group One level on the Rowley Mile on Saturday week.

“Twilight Jet might be supplemented for the Middle Park,” said O’Callaghan.

“He ran a good race at Doncaster, stepping up to seven furlongs. That run proved to us that six is possibly his best trip – he has a lot of tactical speed and a lot of speed.

“We put a line through his run in the Phoenix Stakes as he was proper sick afterwards and he went to the Gimcrack then at probably only 90 per cent and ran a big race.

“He ran an even bigger race the other day and in a competitive race like the Middle Park, I think he’ll run a big race again.”

Another juvenile O’Callaghan is looking forward to stepping up in grade between now and the end of the season is King X J.

The Cotai Glory colt was only seventh on his racecourse debut at the Curragh, but justified strong market support when landing a valuable sales race at the home of Irish Flat racing on Sunday.

O’Callaghan added: “He’s a fine, big horse who probably wants seven furlongs or a mile already, but we just thought he had enough class to drop back to a stiff six at the Curragh when there was such a big prize on offer. Thankfully the plan paid off.

“He might go for a Listed race in Dundalk, or he might even go for the Killavullan Stakes in Leopardstown.”