Ballydoyle Enjoys Successful Week With Classic Contenders
Two of Ballydoyle’s Classic contenders made encouraging progress in their racecourse preparation last week, beginning with a fruitful trip to Epsom for Cape Of Good Hope (Galileo), Aidan O’Brien’s first winner of the Listed Blue Riband Trial.
Twice placed at Group level last season, the bay colt seemed to appreciate the step up in trip to ten furlongs, as he led close home to beat Cap Francais by half a length.
Later representing the winning owners, Kevin Buckley commented, “Cape Of Good Hope brought some of the best form into the race and it's good to get some experience around Epsom. Ryan said he settled nicely and responded well. We'll see how he comes out of this and talk to the owners but, on that performance, you'd like to think he'd be coming back.”
A full-brother to globetrotting superstar Highland Reel and Idaho, Cape Of Good Hope will aim to better the latter’s third behind Harzand in the 2016 running of the Epsom Derby.
Another Ballydoyle representative aiming to better their siblings’ achievements is leading Oaks fancy Pink Dogwood (Camelot), who made a winning three-year-old debut in the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan on Sunday.
Beaten a length and a half when last seen in the Prix Marcel Boussac, she too was running over ten furlongs for the first time, though her stamina was never doubted as a full-sister to Irish Derby hero Latrobe (Camelot). The winning distance was half a length, with impressive maiden winner Encapsulation (Zoffany) staying on well to take second. As with her stablemate, connections are as of yet unsure whether she will run between now and Epsom.
Kickstarting a double for the team at Dundalk on Wednesday evening was newcomer Fort Meyers (War Front), who produced a late challenge to win the six furlong maiden. Out of the beautifully-bred Guineas heroine Marvellous (Galileo), the two-year-old was sent off favourite under Donnacha O’Brien, who denied his brother Joseph a win, as Never Before (No Nay Never) took second, two lengths in front of St George’s Head (Kingston Hill).
Donnacha doubled up later on the card with another favourite in Dunkirk Harbour (Declaration Of War), who raced home six and a half lengths clear in the mile maiden.
The following day at Tipperary, Pistoletto (War Front) blew his rivals away with a walkover in the five furlong maiden. Leading over a furlong from home, the favourite was pushed clear to score by five and a half lengths, as the Fozzy Stack-trained American Lady (Starspangledbanner) finished the best of the rest. Donnacha O’Brien was full of praise for the winner, later saying, "He is fast and has plenty boot for five. I'd imagine he's a Norfolk horse. He is a beautiful looking horse and is mature and always showed plenty at home.”
Adding to the list of winning newcomers was Sir Dragonet, who quickened clear with ease to win the 12 and a half furlong maiden by three lengths under Seamie Heffernan. A delighted Aidan O’Brien commented after the race, “A horse with a pedigree like that could be anything. He is in the King Edward Stakes in Ascot and we'll see where we go.”