Ballydoyle Strengthens Royal Ascot Hand
To win Saturday’s Yeats Stakes at Navan was very apt for the Ballydoyle team and the obliging charge was Western Australia (Australia), ridden to victory by Donnach O’Brien.
Placed at the highest level over a mile as a juvenile, this Listed contest marked a significant step up in trip to a mile and five furlongs. The chesnut colt was full of running at the two furlong pole, leading narrowly entering the final furlong and ran on to score by a length and a half. The Pier House Stud-bred colt holds entries in both the Epsom and Irish Derby’s, as well as the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Later on the card, the beautifully-bred Barbados (Galileo) made all to win the ten furlong maiden by an impressive five and a half lengths under Donnacha O’Brien. He, too, boasts entries in both Derbies and the King Edward VII Stakes.
Out of the Listed-winning Danehill mare Sumora, Barbados is a full-brother to Prix Marcel Boussac runner-up Promise To Be True (Galileo) and Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Maybe (Galileo), herself the dam of top miler Saxon Warrior (Deep Impact).
The following day at Naas, advertised as Royal Ascot Trials Day, Etoile (War Front) made a perfect start to her career when taking the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Sprint Stakes under Seamie Heffernan. Chasing the leaders early in the six furlong contest, she made good headway a furlong and a half from home and ran on well to lead inside the final furlong, beating Peace Charter (War Front) by half a length, with the same distance back to Celtic Beauty (No Nay Never) in third.
Aidan O’Brien later earmarked the Albany Stakes as Etoile’s next target, for which she is currently quoted at 5/1. She was certainly bred to be talented, with her dam Gagnoa having won two Group 3’s and been placed in three Group 1 contests as a three-year-old. Gagnoa is also a Sadler’s Wells half-sister to Pour Moi (Montjeu).
Completing a Group double for the team at Naas was So Perfect (Scat Daddy), who justified favouritism in the Group 3 Lacken Stakes over six furlongs. A close third in the Fred Darling Stakes on her seasonal return last month, her juvenile performances include a Group 3 win and narrow defeats in both the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes.
Ridden by Ryan Moore, she produced a challenge after the two furlong marker and was ridden to lead inside the final furlong, staying on to score by two and a quarter lengths. Her winning trainer later commented, “She's a big, powerful mare and has the option of the Commonwealth or the Kings Stand. I'm delighted we came back with her.”
Moore and O’Brien were doubling up following Pistoletto’s success in the Coolmore Gustav Klimt Race for juveniles earlier on the card. The son of War Front was sent off favourite based on his impressive debut win at Tipperary last month and beat three other previous winners to make it two from two. The Norfolk Stakes will be next for the Tada Nobutaka-bred colt, who is a full-brother to dual Grade 1 winner Avenge (War Front).