16 April 2018

When a multiple Classic winner from last season is quickly followed by the ante-post 2,000 Guineas favourite, you know that the Flat season is well and truly back.

So it was that Irish Derby and English St Leger champion CAPRI (IRE) resumed at Naas last Friday evening and exhibited once again his ability to race on the pace and battle tenaciously to land the Group 3 Alleged Stakes over ten furlongs.

The grey son of Coolmore’s peerless Galileo (IRE) is entered in majors such as the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Coronation Cup in forthcoming weeks and months. Both his younger full siblings were winners and it might be worthwhile looking out for another, a three-year-old named Cypress Creek (IRE), who contests a maiden for Aidan O’Brien on Thursday at Tipperary.     

A day later, the credentials of GUSTAV KLIMT (IRE) as a potential Classic winner were done no harm as he asserted inside the seventh and final furlong of the Ballylinch Stud 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown.

Another son of Galileo (IRE), he had not run for 273 days since successfully overcoming all sorts of interference in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting, and it is hard to find many flaws in his make-up.

He is bred in the purple, out of Massarra, a full sister to Invincible Spirit (IRE) and Kodiac among others. Eight of her nine foals to race have won, including the Group 1 winner Nayyara.  

Another winner for the Ballydoyle battalion arrived in the form of NELSON (IRE) in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes, so frequently an informative trial with subsequent Group 1 winners Rekindling, Harzand (IRE) and Fascinating Rock (IRE) in the recent roll of honour.

Nelson (IRE) impressed with how he fought back having been headed with a furlong to race by stable companion Delano Roosevelt (IRE) and he could be among his stable’s Derby contenders in June. He is a half-brother to four other winners, principally the 2016 Epsom Derby runner-up, US Army Ranger (IRE). 

Meanwhile, Ger Lyons’ strong start to the season kept going in the Ballylinch Stud ‘Priory Belle’ 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes as WHO’S STEPH (IRE) made the most of a positive ride from Colin Keane and impressively repel a host of challengers.

This grey daughter of Coolmore Stud’s Zoffany (IRE) was bred by Patrick Headon’s Wraymount Stud near Birr in County Offaly and sold for €20,000 at Goffs November Foal Sale. Lyons then found double that sum to acquire her from Whitehall Stud at Tattersalls Ireland’s September Yearling Sale in 2016 and she has won two of her three starts.  She holds an entry for the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at Naas on May 7th

Finally, it was pretty heavy going at Cork on Sunday but BLOOMFIELD (IRE) made light of the conditions to record a convincing victory in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Noblesse Stakes in the colours of owner-breeder John Connaughton.

She has now recorded two wins and two seconds from four starts and looks well up to making her presence felt in Group races. She is by Kildangan Stud’s Teofilo (IRE) and is the seventh foal to win out of eight to race in these parts from the mare Ramona.  

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