6.10 Galway – SNIPER (nap)
This looks a decent two-year-old maiden in which a few of these have already shown plenty of promise, including a thrice-raced colt who ran in the Chesham Stakes and chasing home a subsequent Group 3 winner, while there is also a newcomer from a top stable to add further interest.
The selection, trained by Ger Lyons, is a son of Dubawi who is a full brother to 7f 2yo Listed winner Titus Mills out of an unraced daughter of Fillies’ Mile winner Aqaarid, and he made his debut outing in a 6f maiden at Leopardstown just over a month ago (16/1 chance). He raced in midfield and made progress over two furlongs out, ridden an unable to quicken with the principals over a furlong out but keeping on under considerate handling to eventually finish fourth behind Sudirman (beaten 6¾ lengths). The winner has since won a Group 2 and the runner-up, fifth and sixth (also second at Group 3 level) were also subsequent winners, and this colt shaped as though he would improve both the outing and another furlong. He holds a pair of Group 1 entries and is certain to prove a lot sharper on this occasion, from a stable whose youngsters improve for a run; interesting his in-form handler is willing to take on Friendship once again, having beaten him with recent Group 3 winner Exogenesis, and no surprise to see this son of Dubawi come good at the second time of asking.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Friendship is a son of Galileo who was deemed good enough to contest the 7f Listed Chesham Stakes on just his second career start, close up from the outset and leading briefly well over a furlong out, soon headed and fading inside the final furlong to come home in ninth behind Berkshire (beaten 11½ lengths). His latest outing saw him contest a 7f minor event at Leopardstown earlier this month, prominent from the outset and responding well for pressure to lead approaching the final furlong, soon strongly challenged and headed soon after by Exogenesis, coming home 1½ lengths adrift at the line. The winner went on to land a Group 3 next time, and the fact that this colt has competed above this company the last twice is interesting; his lack of English Group race entries is notable, but he still sets a solid standard for the potential improvers/newcomer in the field to aim at.
Dermot Weld’s Mustajeeb is a son of Nayef who is a half brother to connections’ 7f 2yo winner (at this meeting last year) Muaanid, and he made his debut in a 6f maiden at the Curragh two months ago, sent off a 13/2 chance. He proved keen under restraint at the rear of the field early, moving closer passing halfway and ridden over a furlong to try and challenge, unable to prove a serious threat and sticking on to take fourth behind Sir John Hawkins (beaten 4¼ lengths). His failure to settle earlier on perhaps contributed to his blunted finishing effort, but it was still a highly respectable effort in a race that has worked out nicely, not least given he is bred to want a fair bit further than 6f. The fact he has been saved for this particular meeting and given a Royal Lodge in the interim speaks volumes, and big improvement ought to be forthcoming over this extra furlong; entitled to go well, for all he will predictably be shorter than he ought to be in the market.
The Paddy Prendergast-trained Dai Bando is a nicely bred son of Montjeu who was well supported for a good 7f maiden at the Curragh last month, attempting to make all but headed fully two furlongs from home and sticking on at just the one pace therafter as he came home in seventh behind Renaissance Art. He was set a stiff task three weeks later when contesting the 6f Group 3 Anglesey Stakes back at the Curragh, towards the rear and pushed along well over a furlong, unsurprisingly lacking the pace/know-how to get involved as he beat just one rival home behind Wilshire Boulevard (beaten 6 lengths). The support he came in for on debut and the fact he was tried at Group 3 level last time are clear indicators of the regard this colt is held in, and it is likely he will be capable of a good deal better at some stage; others make a bit appeal to improve right away here, but still interesting to see the strength of support for this colt in the market beforehand.
The Eddie Lynam-trained Caso De Lago is a son of Balmont who has offered little in a pair of 6f maidens at Navan and Naas a month apart, well in arrears on both occasions and pushed along two furlongs out, making some late gains on hus most recent outing to take a remote third behind Wilshire Boulevard. This looks another decent maiden and he looks set to come up short once again, but he does at least qualify for a mark after this and ought to prove better suited by low grade nurseries.
The only newcomer in the field is the Jim Bolger-trained Royal Focus is a son of Intense Focus who is a half brother to 10f 3yo winner Teoirim out of a 1m winner who was the daughter if a half sister top-class pair Arazi and Noverre, family of Ajdal and Formidable. This colt makes some appeal on pedigree, his limited dam hailing from a hugely successful family, but he lacks any big-race entries and takes on some promising types here; comes from a top stable that can have them ready to strike at the first time of asking, but likely that their representative here is likely best watched on this occasion unless the subject of significant pre-race market support.