CLASSIC CLUES, of the European nature, were, perhaps surprisingly, provided at Navan last week when perennial Champion Trainer, Aidan O’Brien sent two of the three highest-rated maidens in Ireland to compete and they duly registered a double, completed by impressive Classic hopeful Stone Age in a 1m2f maiden.
A Derby trial date now awaits Stone Age after his bloodless nine length success, although jockey Ryan Moore, who rode both Ballydoyle winners on the day, suggested the Galileo colt doesn’t necessarily need to step up to the Derby distance. The winner’s rating of 109, the highest of any maiden in Ireland before this breakthrough, was achieved thanks to a narrow defeat in Group Two company on Irish Champions Weekend and when filling the same position in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud last October.
Moore said: “He was very smooth today. It was nice for him to come out and do things nicely and comfortably. Hopefully he can gain a bit of confidence from this. I think he’s a smart horse. “The last time I rode him was on heavy ground in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and he didn’t like it].
It was nice to get him on some good ground.” A tilt at the Listed Committed Stakes back at Navan next month is on the cards for Stone Age’s stablemate New York City, who obliged in the style that his status as hot favourite suggested he would in the opening 5f maiden. Rated 101, the smart 3yo made his class count in scoring by an easy seven lengths.
Moore said: “He’s a beautiful, big, strong horse and he was entitled to win like that. Hopefully he can go on from here. The ground is good and he’s quite straightforward.” Jim Bolger opened his account for the 2022 turf season with a name to note as the imposing Wexford Native made a winning debut under Kevin Manning in a mile maiden.
A standout in the parade ring beforehand, the homebred 3yo son of Teofilo showed plenty of natural ability to get the better of Sun King, rated 92 and ridden by Moore for O’Brien, by two and a half lengths after being handed a tricky draw in stall 21. Wexford Native holds entries for the 2000 Guineas, Irish 2000 Guineas and Irish Derby so is clearly held in some regard by his astute connections.
“It was tough to overcome his draw and get across, but I think he has a big future,” said Manning. “He’s been showing us some nice work at home, as he was last year as well, but he was just a big backward horse. We’ll see where he goes from here. He’s a horse for the future.”