Sunday’s card at Naas gets underway with the very intriguing listed Owenstown Stud Stakes over seven- furlongs with CURRENT OPTION the highest rated horse for trainer Adrian McGuinness (107). The four-year- old is looking for a hat-trick of victories having bounced back to winning ways with success in the Ahonoora handicap at Galway before claiming the listed Platinum Stakes at Cork.
He’s a real seven-furlong specialist for connections having not finished outside the first two places in seven starts over this trip with a total of four wins and three second place finishes.
Gavin Ryan continues his partnership with the four-year-old who is versatile with ground conditions and he’ll once again be suited by a strong pace and played late with a challenge. So Wonderful represents Aidan O’Brien and is another looking to complete a very quick hat-trick following her maiden success at the Curragh and victory in the listed Ruby Stakes at Killarney on Friday – will Aidan bring her out quickly is the big question?
The Perfect Crown is the English raider for Archie Watson and comes here unexposed after an easy victory in novice company at Lingfield earlier this month.
Ger Lyons has declared two runners, both owned by the Newtown Anner Stud with Soul Search the mount of Colin Keane and Gary Carroll riding Auxilia. Both these three-year-olds finished second recently and have good chances with Soul Search hoping to reverse the form with Current Option from Cork.
Elsewhere, Ken Condon is having an excellent week and wonderful season and Could Be King is another who finished behind our pick in Mallow and has each-way claim. Dermot Weld has decided to use cheekpieces on Baraniya who takes her chance in listed grade for the first time and could run well for the Rosewell team.
Aidan O’Brien runs three fillies here but the very likeable KASTASA gets the vote this Sunday for Dermot Weld and Oisin Orr in the Group 3 Stanerra Stakes. She’s an ever improving and progressive filly who’s only suffered two defeats in eight career starts for the master of Rosewell, winning five consecutive races over the past year.
She ended last season with victory in the Group 3 Loughbrown Stakes and surprised me by winning on her seasonal debut at Gowran Park in listed company last month when most of the Weld runners were needing their comeback run.
This race was always on the agenda according to Weld, who was more than pleased with her victory in the Vintage Tipple Stakes despite the run of the race not been ideal.
Weld knows what it takes to win this race having claimed previous success with Profound Beauty, Sense Of Purpose and Pale Mimosa and despite Kastasa giving weight away to younger rivals here, she can secure another win. Passion and Elizabethofaragon return following defeats in the Give Thanks Stakes, while Ennistymon steps back up in trip following her second place finish in the Hurry Harriet Stakes at Gowran Park.
Joseph O’Brien’s French import Traisha is another in the mix and should improve for her third Irish start having finished second to Kasstasa in Kilkenny, while Ger Lyons runs Yaxeni who came sixth behind stable-mate Even So in the Irish Oaks last month.
Despite the fact this race has been dominated by three-year-olds in the past five-seasons, I’d be disappointed if Kastasa doesn’t win for Dermot Weld before setting her sights at some bigger options later this autumn – it looks a stepping stone for a crack at the Irish St Leger next month.
LUSTOWN BABA has just been finding her way in three starts so far this season and can reverse the form with Nullifier to win this six-furlong handicap for trainer Willie McCreery and jockey Leigh Roche.
This three-year- old filly was staying on nicely behind her Ger Lyons rival who got first run over course and distance 20-days ago. She’ll relish any further rain having secured victory here over seven furlongs on soft / heavy ground as a juvenile last October and it’s hard to see her out of the places today.
Nullifier has been raised six-pounds to 88 by the handicapper with Not Now Zeb another improver in recent times following back to back wins for Tom Mullins at Navan and the Curragh.
Silver Spear could reverse the form with the Mullins runner following their battle at HQ which was a first run of the season for the Slattery trained horse who landed a nursery at Fiaryhouse last season.
Elsewhere, Half Nutz was consistent for Shelia Lavery before disappointing behind Not Now Zeb, while Kokura carries little weight for Johnny Murtagh with Danny Sheehy in the saddle.
James Shortt’s tips for Naas on Sunday
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