CHIEF LITTLE HAWK provided his sire, Air Force Blue, with a breakthrough European success when making a successful debut at Naas on Wednesday. He defied market weakness to register a taking victory, impressing with the speed he showed.
Chief Little Hawk looked clued up on debut as he broke well, showed plenty of speed and always appeared to be in control, winning by a length and a quarter.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien won the Windsor Castle last year and looks to have another strong contender in the speedy Chief Little Hawk.
Few horses in training have a better pedigree than the Aidan O’Brien-trained BATTLEGROUND, who is by War Front, whose progeny have an especially good record at Ascot, and out of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Found, one of the most consistent and successful mares of recent seasons.
Battleground was too green to do himself justice on debut at Naas on Monday, showing his inexperience when asked to challenge two furlongs from home. However, he started to get the hang of things in the closing stages and finished a never-nearer fifth, getting to within two and a half lengths of the winner.
He appeals as the type to improve markedly for that initial experience and will be well suited by stepping up in trip to 7 furlongs.
The pecking order among the colts this season is difficult to establish, but in the fillies’ division MORE BEAUTIFUL certainly sets the standard after making such an impressive debut at Naas on Monday.
She is a half-sister to 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior, so is bred to be smart, and she could hardly have made a better initial impression – quickly settling matters with a good turn of foot and bolting up by three and a half lengths.
She will take all the beating in whichever races she contests at the meeting.
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A particularly pleasing aspect of TALBOT’s performance on debut at Lingfield was the fact he settled well in mid-division before showing a sharp turn of foot to win by a length and three quarters.
Many of the more impressive maiden winners this season have dominated from the front, and such tactics will be much harder to pull off at Royal Ascot, where there is likely to be plenty of competition for the lead.
Talbot has proved he is happy to take a lead and he looked like an exciting prospect at Lingfield, few juveniles this season have created such a good an impression on the eye or on the clock.
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