Chief Little Hawk (Air Force Blue) Wins the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas

Chief Little Hawk Lands Valuable Naas Victory

The multiple stakes placed Chief Little Hawk (2c Air Force Blue x Marylebone, by Unbridled’s Song) put in a thrilling run on Sunday to win the inaugural €320k Ballyhane Stakes at Naas in Ireland.

Trying six furlongs for the first time, the colt had no problem slicing through the soft going with Seamie Heffernan aboard. Breaking close to the stands’ side rail, Chief Little Hawk raced just behind the leaders in a field that was spread across the track.

As they entered the final furlong, Chief Little Hawk angled over to the fence and set down to chase down the leader. Inhaling the ground as time was running short, Chief Little Hawk had impeccable timing to get his head in front right at the line for a nose victory.

“He was one of our Ascot horses and was impressive at Navan,” Heffernan told, “The last day at the Curragh he ran out past the line, so I was coming here fancying him today. Today was his first try at six furlongs and he got it real well. There is a chance that he might get another furlong and, if he does, he’s got loads of speed to travel right.”

Bred by Chelston and raced by the Coolmore partners, Chief Little Hawk’s eight winning half-siblings include stakes winner Bow Bells and Grade III-placed Sloane Square. Their Grade I-winning dam Marylebone is also the granddam of Group III-placed Hug and a Kiss.

Marylebone is one of three stakes horses for Desert Queen with her full sister Alpha Mama producing Grade II winner Alpha Kitten and that mare’s half-sister producing stakes placed Brooke Marie.

Marylebone produced a colt by last year's Champion Freshman Sire American Pharoah this year, whose full brother is one of Marylebone’s nine winners.

A European Champion 2-Year-Old himself, Air Force Blue’s four winners of six races are among the best of his generation.