Michael O’Callaghan’s Twilight Son colt finished down the field in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in his final start at the end of a busy juvenile campaign, but victory was never in doubt in this six-furlong event.
Sent off a 9-2 chance the three-year-old took an easy lead, with the hat-trick-seeking New York City and Ger Lyons’ Straight Answer tracking behind, but his pursuers had no answer once jockey Leigh Roche cranked up the engine and turned on the afterburners at the business end.
He pulled three-lengths clear of the Aidan O’Brien-trained 6-5 favourite New York City, who in turn was almost the same distance clear of Saliteh who claimed third at 125-1. Betfair responded by slashing the winner into 14-1 from 40-1 for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
O’Callaghan confirmed he believes the horse has shown enough to justify targeting that Group One contest next and was relieved to see his Cornwallis Stakes winner back to his best.
"Delighted" - Michael O'Callaghan believes Twilight Jet "has a live chance" in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot
He said: “It was impressive and a relief as well. He missed six weeks in the spring, we just swam him for six weeks, and if this was three weeks ago he wouldn’t have been ready.
“He’s just come right and that makes it all the more impressive to me, knowing how his prep went during the spring. He always looked like one that could improve with time, he’s a fine big horse. He has a bit of class and has a lot of natural speed.
“He’s going to improve for the run today, I’ve no doubt Leigh is going to tell me that he had a blow. He took plenty of pulling up and galloped down to the third fence down the back before he got him pulled up.
“I think he has strengthened up enough this year to get six furlongs. In the Middle Park last year he showed his class but just didn’t see out the six furlongs. I think this year he looks strong enough to go to Royal Ascot for the Commonwealth Cup with a big chance.”
O’Callaghan is prepared to put a line through his disappointing showing at Del Mar at the end of 2021 and was delighted that the horse could get back on track in the colours of new owners, who had signed for a share in the horse prior to that trip across the Atlantic.
He continued: “The Cornwallis was his ninth run last year and he went to the Breeders Cup’ after that.
“Michael and Julia Iavarone, whose colours he runs in, used to own Big Brown who won the Kentucky Derby and they bought into 50 per cent of him to go to the Breeders’ Cup.
“I’m just delighted that he’s come out this year as a three-year-old and he’s furnished and he’s gone and done it.
“We always thought he was probably a Group One horse. He’s trained on now over the winter and proved that he justifies being classed as something that’s maybe a Group One horse this year.”
Aidan O’Brien’s Meditate took the step up to six furlongs in her stride as she followed up her impressive Curragh victory on debut to scoop Group Three honours in the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas.
The daughter of No Nay Never won by just over three lengths in her first start and although the winning margin was not as imperious this time, there was no doubt about who the winner would be once the €360,000 buy took over from long-time leader Matilda Picotte inside the final furlong.
Kieran Cotter’s game Curragh scorer faded in the closing stages as Comhra (7-2) and It’s Showtime Baby (11-1) stayed on into the places, but it was only the 2-1 joint-favourite’s performance that mattered, with the youngster booking her ticket to the Albany at Royal Ascot.
Aidan O'Brien updates Gary O'Brien on Meditate, The Antarctic and more
“I’m delighted with her. She’s very laid back at home so she’s a hard filly to get a read on,” said O’Brien.
“Obviously she won very nicely at the Curragh and stepped up in distance there, Wayne (Lordan) was delighted with her today. She’s lovely and we’re very happy with her.
“The Sioux Nation filly went a good gallop, she was good at the Curragh and we thought she was going to be a big danger. We were delighted that she was able to pick her up, we weren’t sure that would happen and six furlongs obviously suited her.
“We were hoping to come here and if everything went well then have a look at the Albany with her. We think that’s what we’ll do, obviously we’ll talk to the lads but I think that’s the route she’ll be going.”
The Antarctic posted a near carbon copy of his Tipperary debut as as Aidan O’Brien’s talented two-year-old maintained his unbeaten record in the Coolmore Stud Calyx Race at Naas on Sunday.
The son of Dark Angel was half a length clear of Wodao when scoring on debut and both the 750,000 guineas purchase and the reopposing Showcasing colt were quickly into stride in this five-furlong contest and disputing the lead early doors.
They were joined at the two-furlong marker by Michael O’Callaghan’s eventual second Mehmar, but The Antarctic was not for passing under Seamie Heffernan in the closing stages and defied signs of inexperience to be strong at the line. He had three-quarters of a length in hand on the runner-up with Wodao a short head further back in third.
A trip to Royal Ascot appears up next for the brother to Battaash, with the master of Ballydoyle highlighting the Norfolk as his intended destination at the summer showpiece.
Betfair left the youngster unchanged at 5-1 for that five-furlong event, with O’Brien saying: “He’s fast, obviously he’s a brother to Battaash. He has a lot of natural speed and is a high cruiser.
“I’m delighted to get a second run with him and Seamus is very happy with him.
“He’s a real sprinter, I’d say, he’s very strong and he’s as wide as he is long. I couldn’t be happier with him.
“Seamus said the faster they go in a race the more it will suit him. He is fast and I wouldn’t be sure he’ll stay very far, he’s probably a five-furlong horse.
“The plan was to go for the Norfolk if everything went well today. I think that’s the plan, if everybody is happy.”
Brostaigh continues the good run of form for trainer Joseph O'Brien
Brostaigh (10-1) profited from the blistering pace set by Geocentric to land the Listed Sole Power Sprint Stakes.
Joseph O’Brien’s three-year-old tracked Ger Lyons’ 13-8 favourite before scooting clear to record a cosy success.
“Her maidens have worked out pretty well and she had a really good run the last day in Cork,” said O’Brien.
“We were going to run in the Lacken but this race cut up and I thought we had a better chance of sneaking third here.
“She improved a bit more than I thought and probably improved for the drop back to five as well.
“She’s a well-bred filly from a fast family. She’ll run away in fillies sprints for the year but that’s job done, a stakes winner.”
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