There is a fine card of racing at Naas on Monday evening, with some very interesting juvenile contests that could have some bearing on Royal Ascot in three weeks from now.
The big race on the card however is the Group 3 Racing Post Lacken Stakes over 6 furlongs, which could throw up one or two clues for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
The field is headed by the once-raced Compass Hill, a son of Mizzen Mast who ran well on his only start last year when 1 ¾ lengths second of 5 to the smart Lucida. John Murphy’s colt is highly tried for his return and could emerge as a real talent here.
Intense Style had a busy enough two year old season and has already been out 3 times this year. Jim Bolger’s colt recorded two victories from 7 starts in 2014, including a 1 ¼ lengths defeat of Dick Whittington in a Curragh maiden in late May. He also won at Dundalk in late September and returned there for his seasonal bow in April, running 7 ¾ lengths fourth of 7 to Convergence. In late April he ran a short head second of 11 to Bold Thady Quill in a Naas handicap. Last time out Intense Style was 10 ½ lengths fifth of 7 to Tombelaine in the Listed Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh in early May.
The Happy Prince has been in fine form this season and takes a step up in class here. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Rip Van Winkle was a promising fifth of 22 to stable mate Royal Navy Ship in a Curragh maiden last October on his only juvenile start. He returned with a victory in a Limerick maiden in mid-April before running ½ a length second of 6 to the useful Postulation over a mile in a Dundalk contest just over a week later. The Happy Prince gained a second win on his latest start, beating Penny Pepper by ½ a length in a Naas handicap in mid-May as he dropped back down in trip.
Toscanini was a smart juvenile last term, winning once and finishing second in 4 pattern races, including when 1 ½ lengths second to Gleneagles in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh last September. The Mick Halford trained son of Shamardal made a winning return when beatin Ainippe by a diminishing head at Navan a couple of weeks ago.
Anthem Alexander was another crack juvenile and makes her anticipated seasonal return here. The Edward Lynam trained 3 year old was a very fast filly last year and after finishing well beaten on debut, was a 7 lengths winner of a Tipperary maiden in early June of last year. She headed to Royal Ascot and achieved the rare feat of defeating Tiggy Wiggy by a neck in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes over 5 furlongs. A couple of months later Anthem Alexander stepped up to 6 furlongs in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York but this time could not get on terms with Tiggy Wiggy finishing 2 lengths third to her rival and subsequent Group 1 winner Cursory Glance. On her final start of the year, she was ¾ of a length second to Tiggy Wiggy in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes. She gets a 3 pounds weight concession here.
Beach Belle was a very fast juvenile last season, winning her first two starts, including a Listed contest at this meeting 12 months ago. The Kevin Prendergast trained daughter of Invincible Spirit was then a creditable 2 ½ lengths fourth to Dick Whittington in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes in August but she seemed less effective when stepped up in trip for her last two starts of 2014. Beach Belle returned to action at Navan last month and ran well enough to finish 2 ¾ lengths third of 7 to Toscanini.
At Windsor there is a real touch of class to the big race of the evening, the Listed Weatherbys Private Banking Leisure Stakes over 6 furlongs.
Naadirr was a hugely consistent horse last term finishing in the first 4 in his first 5 starts, before finally winning. Marco Botti’s 4 year old was a fine head second to Musical Comedy in the Listed Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury last May and was later 3 lengths fourth to Music Master in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at the same track. Naadirr was just a length behind Tropics when fourth at Newmarket in late August but a month later gained a well deserved victory when winning the Listed Garrowby Stakes at York in early September, beating Ladies Are Forever by a length. He looked very fast and smart when returning with a 1 ¼ lengths defeat of Astaire in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster in late March. However, in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes last month he was most disappointing an a long way last of 15 to Glass Office.
Pretend looked a really exciting juvenile when landing a Kempton Park maiden by 7 lengths in November 2013 but the following February ran poorly at Meydan and was off the track until last autumn. The Charlie Appleby trained 4 year old ran fourth at Wolverhampton on his comeback in October but has since been in terrific form, winning at Wolverhampton in December, where he beat Boom The Groom by ½ a length. He returned there on Boxing Day to record a 5 length victory over Smokethatthunders but ran poorly behind Trojan Rocket at Chelmsford a month later. Pretend got back to winning in early March with a 1 ¼ lengths defeat of Boomerang Bob back at Wolverhampton and a week later beat Alben Star by 1 ¼ lengths at Lingfield Park. The gelding then headed to the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield Park on Good Friday and recorded a length victory over Alben Star to complete his hat-trick.
Aeolus was a useful juvenile in 2013 and after a couple of runs last spring got back to winning ways when landing the Listed Sandy Lane Stakes by 2 ¾ lengths from Betimes last May. Ed Walker’s 4 year old failed to fire finishing last of 23 to Mustajeeb in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot but shaped better when 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 9 to Coulsty in a Deauville Group 3 in August, before disappointing on his final start of 2014 at Ascot in October. He returned at Haydock Park in May and ran well to finish 5 lengths fourth of 6 to That Is The Spirit.
Clear Spring is a grand old campaigner in handicaps and has returned perhaps better than ever as he steps up in grade. John Spearing’s 7 year old failed to win last year and on the whole struggled, although he was second at Warwick and Yarmouth. However, this year has been much better and Clear Spring landed a conditions race at Haydock Park in early May, beating Intibaah by 2 ¼ lengths. He followed-up with success in a Newbury handicap a few days later, defeating Golden Steps by a short head.
Dinkum Diamond is another popular stalwart in the sprint division and recorded his last victory in the Listed Cammidge Trophy in March 2014. Henry Candy’s 7 year old ran 3 lengths fifth to Naadirr in that contest this year before finishing in the same position when 2 ½ lengths behind Eastern Impact in a 22-runner handicap at Newmarket in early May.
Dutch Masterpiece was a speedy juvenile and continued that form into 2013, when as a 3 year old he was successful 3 times, most notably when landing the Group 3 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh by Hamza in August of that year. The Gary Moore trained 5 year old has had his problems since then and had just the one start in 2014, when last of 8 in a Newbury contest in April of last year. He was not seen out again until reappearing in a Nottingham contest in early April and has failed to make his mark on both runs this season.
Eastern Impact makes a well-earned step up in Listed grads here after some fine efforts in competitive handicaps. The Richard Fahey trained 4 year old was twice successful at Newmarket last year and made a winning return at the Rowley Mile in early May when landing a 22-runner handicap by a short head from Huntsmans Close.
Morache Music ran 4 lengths seventh to Rocky Ground in this corresponding race a year ago and ran 3 good races at Haydock Park during 2014. His sole victory last year came at Doncaster in August when he won a handicap by a head from Badr Al Badoor, although his last 3 runs of the year proved disappointing.
Ninjago has had a busy time of things already in 2015 and after two disappointing runs in Meydan, returned to the UK with a bang when landing a Kempton Park conditions race in late March by a head from American Hope. The Richard Hannon trained 5 year old then disappointed and failed to place in his next 3 starts but ran much better last time out to finish 2 ½ lengths third of 10 to Ruwaiyan in a Goodwood handicap in late May.
Outback Traveller proved a useful juvenile winning two of his three starts in 2013 and was successful again on his second start last year, when landing a Newmarket handicap by ¾ of a length from Baltic Brave last June. The Jeremy Noseda trained 4 year old ran well throughout the year and added further handicap victories at Newmarket in August and Ascot in October, beating Sir Robert Cheval by 7 lengths on the latter occasion. After running with promise when a head second to Speculative Bid at Kempton Park in early April, Outback Traveller disappointed when 14 lengths behind the same horse in the Victoria Cup at Ascot in mid-May. He interestingly now drops down to 6 furlongs for the first time since his juvenile days.
Ruwaiyan seemed to hit peak form in May and June of last year, winning a Thirsk handicap and finishing second twice, including when ¾ of a length second of 6 to Danzeno in the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle. The James Tate trained 6 year old then ran a commendable 2 lengths fourth of 24 to Intrinsic in the Steward’s Cup at Goodwood before his form dropped away. Ruwaiyan ran 20 lengths behind Eastern Impact in a competitive handicap at Newmarket over the Guineas Festival in early May but came on for that run and last time out got back to winning ways with a 2 ½ lengths defeat of Zanetto in a Goodwood handicap in late May.
After a fabulous 2013 campaign which yielded 5 victories (including two at Windsor), Tropics took time to hit form last year but came back to his best when 1 ½ lengths second to Slade Power in the Group 1 July Cup. Dean Ivory’s 7 year old returned to the July Course to land a Listed contest the following month by ½ a length from Alben Star, although he was disappointing in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park in September. In October Tropics ran two big races at Ascot when fourth of 15 to Lightning Moon in the Group 3 Bengough Stakes and when beaten 1 ¼ lengths into second place in a Group 2 race by Gordon Lord Byron. He had perhaps had enough for the year when fifth to Aetna in a Listed contest at Doncaster in November.
Divine is pretty lightly-raced having failed to see a racecourse at two. The Mick Channon trained 4 year old filly won two of her first three starts in early 2014 before running ¼ of a length second to Stepping Out in a Goodwood handicap last June. She then disappointed at Ayr and in a Newmarket handicap in July and was not seen out again. Divine made her comeback in a handicap at Windsor in late April, beating Panther Patrol by 3 ¾ lengths. She now takes a step up in class.
Lucky Kristale was a very smart juvenile filly two seasons ago, counting the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes and the Group 2 Lowther Stakes among her conquests. George Margarson’s 4 year old daughter of the late Lucky Story made her reappearance in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas last May, with stamina questions to answer. In the event she ran a most disappointing race there and also in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes (also over a mile) at Royal Ascot in June. Lucky Kristale only made one more start when 3 ¾ lengths eighth of 15 to Kiyoshi in a 7 furlong Group 3 at Doncaster in September. She shaped well on her return in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket last month, finishing 4 lengths fifth of 11 to Astaire. However, much like Naadirr, Lucky Kristale failed to build on a promising comeback in the Duke Of York Stakes and she only beat that horse home as she finished 23 lengths behind Glass Office.
Minalisa had a busy and successful 2013 but a much quieter time of things in 2014. The Rae Guest trained 6 year old mare was 4 ¼ lengths ninth to Rocky Creek on her comeback in this race 12 months ago and she seemed to improve a couple of weeks later when 2 lengths fourth of 7 to Indignant in a Listed race at Salisbury. Last July Minalisa headed to Ireland and beat Tobann by 1 ½ lengths in a Listed contest at Naas and she finished her year by running 2 ¾ lengths second of 27 to Louis The Pious in the Ayr Gold Cup last September.
Angelic Lord is the only 3 year old in the field and takes on his older rivals. The Tom Dascombe trained son of Dark Angel won on debut at Ripon last June and was not disgraced in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, running 2 ¾ lengths sixth of 15 to the very smart The Wow Signal. He was then 3 ½ lengths fifth of 12 to another top class colt in Ivawood in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket before dropping in class at Doncaster in September and beating Markaz by 1 ¾ lengths. This classy juvenile made a very pleasing comeback on the Lingfield Park all-weather in March, finishing ¼ of a length second to Lexington Times in a valuable Listed contest. He then headed to Newmarket’s Craven Meeting and contested the Group 3 Abernant Stakes, finishing 6 ¾ lengths eighth of 11 to Astaire.