We enjoy an eight-race card at Naas on Saturday afternoon where the feature listed races are scheduled for 5:15pm and 5:45pm after all the action at Royal Ascot has finished.
It’s perhaps not wise to side against any Aidan O’Brien runner at present with the Ballydoyle team in excellent form, but I think EASTERN VOICE can strike for O’Brien’s former teacher Jim Bolger in this six-furlong maiden. It has been a slow start to the resumption of racing for the Bolger team, but this son of Vocalised caught the eye when finishing fourth on debut here 12-days ago.
He took a slight misstep at around the three-furlong pole before getting checked at the furlong pole when trying to make a challenge between rivals. It was a very encouraging debut performance and the form of that race has worked out well this week at Royal Ascot. The horse just in-behind him in fifth place was Battleground who won the Chesham Stakes on Thursday.
The Ballydoyle team have two nice contenders on pedigree with Mexico City, a son of No Nay Never and Military Style, a colt by War Front. Elsewhere, Ger Lyons runs Hale Bopp with Colin Keane in the saddle, but with a run already under his belt, Eastern Voice can take this maiden and push the Bolger campaign into gear.
The listed Polonia Stakes looks an open affair on paper with five or six horses in with chances and I’m hoping PRECIOUS MOMENTS can land this prize for Ballydoyle. There is plenty of collateral form on offer in this race, with my selection and stable-mate Tango both running at Leopardstown 11-days ago for Aidan O’Brien.
Both are dropping down in trip and despite Seamie Heffernan siding with Tango, I think Wayne Lordan’s mount can represent some value. Precious Moments was behind 1000 Guineas winner Love twice last season and raced against other good opposition, Daahyeh and Albigna. She finished third at Leopardstown and travelled extremely well to suggest the drop in trip could be ideal to win.
Punita Arora had several of these in-behind when winning here in the listed Committed Stakes for Jesscia Harrington, while Lady Penelope is another serious contender. The Joseph O’Brien trained filly finished behind Keep Busy at Chantilly last November, with that horse finishing second behind Art Power at Royal Ascot for John Quinn on Friday.
Denis Hogan’s full attention might be on Sceptical at Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday afternoon, but the Tipperary based trainer has found a good opportunity for MAKE A CHALLENGE in the listed Sole Power Stakes over five furlongs. The son of Invincible Spirit made a shift rise in the ratings last year, having raced off a mark of 66 in May and ended the season in Group 1 company off 111 in October.
He recorded six victories throughout the entire season which included the listed Testimonial Stakes at the Curragh last October. Success in that race earned him a run in the British Champions Sprint at Ascot where he finished fifth behind Donjuan Triumphant. He returns to run on home soil this Saturday afternoon after a sixth-place finish in Doha in February and can take this listed contest.
This is an excellent chance to start of the season and Make A Challenge runs off a mark of 112 and can see off Jim Bolger’s Southern Horse and other rivals. The recent rainfall and any further wet conditions will only be a positive, with three of his six victories in 2019 coming on underfoot conditions.
Naas tipping summary
14:35 – EASTERN VOICE
17:15 – PRECIOUS MOMENTS
17:45 – MAKE A CHALLENGE
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