THE flat season gets underway at Naas on Sunday and there is a great buzz around the yard at this time of year.
We still have a few weeks left of the jumps season, but it’s hard to beat the sight of the two-year olds starting to sort themselves out at this time of the year.
We have some lovely juvenile’s and as a bunch they look nice and while we won’t have our first (two-year-old) runner for a little while, the dream is very much alive at the moment. Some are shaping up very nicely and the mild winter has been a big help. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been able to get them on the grass and that will really stand to them.
The season gets underway on Sunday and we bring a nice team of horses to Naas and here are my thoughts on them.
2.35 – St Brelades Bay (Shane Foley)
He is racing off a career high mark, but he runs well fresh and he is in great form. He won’t mind the ground – he goes on anything and being drawn in the middle, shouldn’t be an issue for him. I’ve been pleased with him at home and he is pretty straight, but I’d like to think that he will improve for this. He’s a course and distance winner and he has been placed twice here too. He was third here on his final start of last year off 91, but he starts off this season rated 96, so it won’t be easy for him. But he’s very well and we’ll see how he gets on.
3.05 – Chicas Amigas (Shane Foley) and Dandy’s Ocean (Tom Madden)
They are both in very good form and this race looks the ideal starting point for them. There are plenty of unexposed horses in the line-up and it’s worth noting that Awtaad, won this race in 2016, before he won the Irish 2,000 Guineas – it’s a bit like the Free Handicap at Newmarket.
Both horses are in good form. Chicas Amigas was purchased last year by Qatar Racing and she developed into a good filly for us last season. She ran a few times on fast ground last season and after a while, I think she began to resent it a bit, so she’ll be happy on the soft ground, while Dandy’s Ocean loves it soft. Both are in very good form and seven is a good trip for them. They were both placed over six furlongs at Naas last year and I’ve been happy with them on the lead up to this race.
— Ballyhane Stud (@BallyhaneStud) May 11, 2018
4.10 – Marshall Jennings (Tom Madden) and Charcor (Shane Foley)
This looks a very competitive renewal of the Lincoln and Marshall Jennings, who is a dual course and distance winner, heads the weights. Tom will take 3lbs off him and he won’t mind the soft ground. He is drawn out in 13, but he likes a bit of room, so that isn’t an issue for him. He won first time out last year and I’ve been happy with him and he’ll take his chance.
Charcor has had just the five starts and he’s a horse that we’ve always liked. He won first time out for us last year and he likes an ease in the ground. A mile will suit him, but ideally, you’d like to be drawn low at Naas, so 11 isn’t great, but we can’t do much about that. He is in very good form and he should run a big race and of the two of them, I’d say Charcor is my best hope in this..
4.45 – Still Standing (Shane Foley)
He’s in very good form and the ground will be fine for him and he appears to be in great order. On ratings, he has a chance in this. The 106 rated Stellar Mass sets the standard, but you’d have to respect Aidan’s horse Amedeo Modigliani, who has been off the track for 596 days. He looked a smart two-year-old when last seen in action – he was a leading fancy for the Derby after he won his maiden. Our horse is fit and well and I’d say a mile and a quarter might be as far as he’ll want to go. This race will determine what route he’ll go this season – I do hope that he’ll develop into a stakes performer and if he runs to his rating, he looks sure to run a big race.