18+ | Commercial Content | T&Cs apply | Wagering and T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly | Advertising Disclosure

Royal Ascot Trials day at Naas

Sun 15th May 2022, 08:24

It's Showtime Baby winning at Dundalk
© Photo Healy Racing

Following watering at Naas, the ground remains good for today's Royal Ascot Trials card which gets under way at 1.45pm.

The weather is set fair for the afternoon with just a chance of a light passing shower.

It’s Showtime Baby bids to provide trainer Jessica Harrington with a third victory in the last five runnings of the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas on Sunday.

With a total prize fund of €68,000 up for grabs, the six-furlong Group Three is the most valuable contest on the eight-race programme.

Having previously struck gold with subsequent multiple Group One winner Alpha Centauri in 2017 and Servalan 12 months later, Harrington hopes to add to her tally with a Showcasing filly who won on her debut at Dundalk last month.

“She won first time in Dundalk and has been great since,” said Harrington.

“She just wouldn’t want too much rain, she likes good ground but she’s in great form and has come on as you would expect from her debut.

“It’s an obvious next step for her and I would hope that Royal Ascot would be next for her definitely, but so is everyone else’s fillies in the race!”

It’s Showtime Baby is one of seven runners declared, with Jim Bolger’s Comhra Aidan O’Brien’s Meditate and the Kieran Cotter-trained Matilda Picotte all last-time-out winners.

Donnacha O’Brien saddles La Dolce Vita who steps up in class after finishing a promising third on her introduction at this track three weeks ago.

He said: “She’s in good form. She’d a good run the first day, she was third first time out over track and trip.

“Obviously, she’s got to improve to be competitive in a Group race but we’re hopeful of a good run from her on Sunday.”

Jim Bolger’s Comhra won at the second time of asking at Roscommon on Monday and makes a quick reappearance while also in the line-up is the Paddy Twomey-trained Treasure Trove who was third on both starts to date.

The first Stakes race on the card is the Sole Power Sprint Stakes in which Michael Browne’s stable star Logo Hunter will bid to get back to winning ways in a race in which he cruised to victory last year with regular pilot Seamie Heffernan on board.

Logo Hunter will take on the 2020 winner of this race Make A Challenge, who is trained by Denis Hogan and will be partnered by Ronan Whelan, while up-and-coming sprinters Geocentric (Ger Lyons/Colin Keane) and Measure Of Magic (Johnny Murtagh/Ben Coen) makes this a fascinating five-furlong contest.

Harrington’s Bopedro is the highest rated horse in the Listed Owenstown Stud Stakes, making his first competitive appearance since September.

“Bopedro did nothing but improve last year but the problem for him is that at 107, handicaps are out for him, so he will have to compete in Stakes races from now on,” said: Harrington.

“Hopefully he can make that step up, but he hasn’t had a run this season yet and would improve for this.”

A high-class field has assembled for the Group Three Lacken Stakes, with Ger Lyons declaring both the unbeaten Beauty Inspire and recent Navan runner-up Straight Answer

The latter chased home Aidan O’Brien’s New York City in the Committed Stakes three weeks ago and they will renew rivalry this weekend.

Michael O’Callaghan is looking forward to running Twilight Jet who was last seen finishing down the field at the Breeders’ Cup.

He said: “He always had a bit of size and a good mind. He’s matured a lot over the winter, both mentally and physically, and he’s a fine belter of a horse now.

“His mind is very good and I expect it will be a long year for him, with Royal Ascot his first major target.”

Donnacha O’Brien turns Elliptic out quickly after finishing third in a Listed race at Cork last week.

Elliptic, who runs in the colours of Donnacha O’Brien’s mother, Annmarie, and was bred under the family’s Whisperview Trading banner, is an interesting contender. The daughter of Caravaggio was competitive in three listed contests in France and Ireland this season, having finished a length third in Longchamp at the end of her juvenile campaign last October.

“Elliptic ran well in Cork the last day. She was possibly a shade unlucky not to win that day,” said the trainer.

“Blinkers seem to have stepped her up we feel, but she’s got a bit to find on ratings for Sunday’s race. We’re hoping she’ll run a good race and pick up some more black type.”

Seven races from Naas will be shown live on RTÉ this Sunday, the first of which will be the opening Coolmore Stud Calyx Race at 1.45 in which the Aidan O’Brien-trained The Antarctic will look to confirm his place at Royal Ascot. The Tipperary maiden winner takes on the unraced Mehmar (Michael O’Callaghan/Leigh Roche) and Little Keilee (Eamonn O’Connell/Colin Keane) and the Donnacha O’Brien-trained Wodao

Donnacha O’Brien said of Wodao: “Wodao runs in the five-furlong two-year-old race. He had a good run the last day and is getting some weight off horses that have won already. He’s in good form and we’re hoping for a good run.”

Ladies’ Day is sure to attract a significant turnout for the Best Dressed Lady competition and Rosanna Davison will in attendance to judge, with a €2,000 prize from Newbridge Silverware on offer for the winner. As a special treat, there will be a complimentary glass of Pimm’s for every lady who enters.

With Kildare playing in the Leinster senior football championship semi-final against Westmeath at Croke Park, Naas will be streaming live coverage of the game on the big screen, so patrons won’t miss a thing.