Aidan O’Brien is keen to see what Chief Little Rock can do back on a decent surface when he contests the Betfred Blue Riband Trial at Epsom on Tuesday.

After winning his maiden on his second outing on good ground, he finished runner-up in two Group races, but they both came with plenty of cut in the ground.

In chasing home Paddy Twomey’s Deepone in the Beresford Stakes and subsequent Group One winner Ancient Wisdom in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket, he nevertheless sets a very good standard for his five rivals to aim at.

The Ballydoyle handler was last successful in this race in 2019 with Cape Of Good Hope, who like Chief Little Rock was by Galileo and went on to finish fourth in the French Derby before grabbing a Group One win in Australia.

“We’re very happy with him and he showed a good level of form when second in the Beresford,” said O’Brien.

“We like him and we think nice ground will suit him, it was nice ground when he won his maiden and we’re keen to learn plenty about him at Epsom.

“His form from last year looks good now and we’ve been very happy with him this year.

“We always thought he would stay a mile and a quarter and maybe a mile and a half.”

O’Brien, of course, houses the hugely exciting City Of Troy, who despite not running in a trial ahead of the 2000 Guineas, has continually seen his form franked, not least by easy Craven winner Haatem, who was over eight lengths behind him in the Dewhurst.

“All is good with him,” said O’Brien. “It’s a case of so far, so good anyway.”

Ralph Beckett’s Feigning Madness is defending an unbeaten record but has plenty to find on ratings, as does Roger Varian’s Defiance, who stepped straight into Group company after a Sandown maiden win and was not disgraced behind Clive Cox’s Ghostwriter in the Royal Lodge.

Arabic Legend has his first start for Karl Burke after being moved from Andrew Balding by owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, while Balding himself runs Bellum Justum, who beat the promising Inisherin last time out.

Kevin Philippart de Foy’s Bur Dubai completes the field.

Patrick Mullins has warned Britain’s leading yards that his father Willie may well aim for back-to-back victories in the jump trainers’ championship if topping the table this term.

The Closutton camp added a rather modest £4,356.80 to their tally when Patrick partnered 2-9 favourite Rath Gaul Boy to an easy success in the Dragonbet Best Odds On Welsh Sport Novices’ Hurdle at Ffos Las.

But that win showed that having already passed the £3million mark with Grand National victories at Aintree and Ayr to build up a sizeable lead over Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls, Mullins is clearly keen to take nothing for granted.

And if he becomes only the second trainer based in Ireland to claim the UK title, the inspiration is there to push on for a second straight success.

“Myself, Ruby (Walsh) and David (Casey) would love it to be the plan from the start of the season, but Willie is always very much like mind your own garden and don’t let anyone get a foothold at home and do your best there,” Patrick Mullins told Sky Sports Racing.

“The only reason this became possible is because I Am Maximus won the National, if he hadn’t won the National, we wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have been at Ayr. It’s half a million, so we’d be fourth.

“So that changed things and we’ve been blown away by the support. People have been saying if you want to send a horse to Ffos Las or Ludlow or wherever, then do that. We’re very grateful for that.

“But Vincent O’Brien did it in the 1950s and he did it two years in a row, so if we do win it, maybe we’ll have to come back next year and emulate him! Although to emulate anything Vincent O’Brien did would be very special, because he is the legend.”

Manchester United fan Mullins was at Wembley on Saturday to watch the Red Devils reach the FA Cup final by getting past Coventry, but he took note of how they blew a 3-0 lead and came within a whisker of being knocked out in extra-time before prevailing on penalties.

Nicholls famously overturned a big deficit on the final day at Sandown when the Closutton team were last in pole position to top the table back in 2016.

“We went to Sandown before on the last day and we’ve been here before and we didn’t win, but hopefully this time we can,” added Patrick.

“The bid for the English title has really livened everything up for us at Closutton as well and we’re really enjoying it. I’m delighted to be in Ffos Las, I was delighted to be in Ayr and I can’t wait to be going to Ludlow on Wednesday.

“I haven’t seen a lot of these tracks, so it’s exciting and hopefully we can get it over the line.

“People have been very kind, we were up in Ayr and the crowd were so welcoming and very supportive of us.

“I remember when Man United used to win everything and everyone wanted to beat them, so there is that side of things when you’re successful, but Willie’s always said you take nothing for granted and you don’t know when things can change, so enjoy it while you can.

“We got the bounce of the ball in Ayr, where we got two photo-finishes. Macdermott could have been second and Chosen Witness could have been second, so that would have changed the whole thing again.”

Owen Burrows’ Alflaila is pencilled in for a summer comeback after a setback cut short his brief campaign last season.

The entire son of Dark Angel has done plenty to prove his ability in the past, enjoying a successful three-year-old season which yielded four victories.

Amongst them was the Strensall Stakes at York, an eight-furlong Group Three, and the Masar Darley Stakes at the same level at Newmarket.

Those runs were due to lead into a bid for the Bahrain International Trophy, but the bay met with a setback and could not take his chance in the Middle East.

He made a late return to action in June last year to take the York Stakes on the Knavesmire by half a length, and although luck did not favour him in his subsequent start in the Irish Champion Stakes he was not disgraced when coming home fifth.

Alflaila has not been seen since after meeting with another issue, but he has now returned to work and Burrows is hopeful he will make an early summer comeback.

“He’s back with me, he probably won’t be out for another month’s time,” said Burrows.

“In the last couple of weeks he’s started fast work and it’ll be good to get him back.

“He obviously didn’t have the longest of seasons last year, but he won well at York on King George day and then it’d didn’t go to plan in the Irish Champion Stakes.

“That was the case for a lot of the English horses, and then unfortunately he had a little setback and that finished him for the season.

“Touch wood we can get him back soon, I was hoping to start him in the Brigadier Gerard, but that may just come a fraction too soon.

“It all depends how the next few weeks go, but he looks as well as ever, he’s filled out and strengthened up again.

“I’m not going to rush him to try and get to Sandown, if it comes around then it comes around but if not we’ll look to June time, there’s plenty of races for a nice horse like him.

“He was only just over three lengths behind Auguste Rodin (in the Irish Champion Stakes) and so he doesn’t have a huge amount to find to step up into these Group One races.”

Willie Mullins has entered both El Fabiolo and Gaelic Warrior at Sandown on Saturday, as he leaves no stone unturned in his attempt to be crowned champion trainer in the UK for the first time.

With £170,000 up for grabs in the bet365 Celebration Chase, Mullins has every base covered with the winners of the last two renewals of the Arkle at Cheltenham.

Appreciate It, Dysart Dynamo and Saint Sam could all run for Mullins, who has made 25 entries on the card overall, while current champion chaser Captain Guinness holds an entry for Henry de Bromhead.

In what could potentially be one of the races of the season, Jonbon, Editeur Du Gite and Edwardstone are among the 14 possibles, in which Mullins’ nearest rival Dan Skelton has entered Nube Negra and his new recruit from Ben Pauling, Harper’s Brook.

A late decision is expected on Gaelic Warrior, with Joe Chambers, racing manager for his owners Susannah and Rich Ricci, explaining he is unlikely to be supplemented for the Champion Chase at Punchestown.

“We’re crawling forward day by day and fully expected him to be entered. We’ll see how things are looking on Thursday morning,” Chambers told the Nick Luck Daily podcast

“We’re not in the Champion Chase at Punchestown, only the novice race, and it’s 30,000 euros to supplement, which doesn’t appeal.

“Willie has always kept novices to novices, unless there has been the odd exception. I would have thought winning the Scottish National would make him run less rather than more, but I could be absolutely wrong, I haven’t a clue what they are thinking.

“He’d be a fair sight, I’d love to see him personally going two miles there, it’s right-handed but whether he goes there or not, it’s going to be very much later in the week.”

Nicky Henderson’s Jonbon is in at Punchestown but Sandown is his preferred destination.

“We are thinking we’re going to Sandown, that’s the plan at the moment, we’re just a little concerned he’s had to start watering quite early. As long as it is safe,” said Henderson.

“We did the two (Aintree and Sandown) last year, so it pricked our ears to it again. Punchestown is an option but I’d rather not be travelling, as it would be safer to stay in England, to be honest.”

In the bet365 Oaksey Chase, Ahoy Senor is among 17 entries, along with Henry de Bromhead’s Journey With Me and Patrick Neville’s The Real Whacker.

Paul Nicholls’ Threeunderthrufive is left at the top of the weights for the bet365 Gold Cup, as the current champion retains a slim hope of retaining his title.

Last year’s winner Kitty’s Light remains in contention after his brave run in the Grand National, with Le Milos carrying the flag for Skelton.

Mullins has left in four, with Nick Rockett and Minella Cocooner his main hopes.

Impaire Et Passe and Langer Dan could meet again in the bet365 Select Hurdle, in which Skelton has also entered My Drogo.

Paul Nicholls has admitted he feels a pang of sympathy for Dan Skelton if, as looks likely, Willie Mullins goes on to beat the pair to become champion trainer.

Nicholls needs one more title to draw level with Martin Pipe on 15, while Skelton is chasing his first crown.

However, having won the Grand National at Aintree with I Am Maximus and the Scottish version with Macdermott, Mullins now has a cushion of almost £180,000 with a week to go.

Nicholls told Betfair: “All credit to him, he’s got a big team of people and horses, particularly horses, and it’s become a bit of a numbers game. The numbers they can produce to run across the board is immense really. It’s a job to compete with that.

“I remember back in the years I had all those good ones and you’d win the trainers’ championship just by winning those big races. The last few years, it has just been about getting the best out of your team.

“Now it’s very difficult. If you win all those big races, like Champion Hurdles and Gold Cups and Grand Nationals, you are going to be champion trainer with a small number of runners. It’s not going to get any easier with the number of horses and the class of horses they have at their disposal.

“It’s an amazing feat to do but with the ammunition they’ve got, and the numbers, we’re up against it.

“I feel a bit for Dan because he said to me on Saturday that he thought the first time he’d beat me in the trainers’ championship, he’d be champion – well he hasn’t yet, because we’ve got Saturday and I’m not too far behind him, so I’m not going to let him rest on his laurels – but in a normal year, he’d be champion trainer.

“He could end up finishing second having beaten me and I know he’s mortified, but he’s had a good season and he’ll get his chance another day.”

Porta Fortuna is on course for the Qipco 1000 Guineas having pleased trainer Donnacha O’Brien in a recent racecourse gallop.

The Caravaggio filly won the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June but showed she was far from just a precocious type when winning the Cheveley Park at the end of September.

Stepped up to a mile for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup, she went down by just half a length to Chad Brown’s Hard To Justify in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“She’s done well over the winter and we had her at Leopardstown for a day away on the Guineas Trials day and she went very well,” said O’Brien.

“We’re very happy with her and aiming for Newmarket.

“She barely won a maiden on heavy but all her best form is on quick ground, so I’d say the better the ground the better for her.

“She ran well over a mile at the Breeders’ Cup, but a Newmarket mile is different than around Santa Anita.

“We are happy to give it a go and if it doesn’t work we can always come back (in trip).”

William Haggas’ Maljoom has the Paradise Stakes at Ascot in his sights and holds an outside chance of running in the Al Shaqab Lockinge.

The five-year-old entire is lightly-raced and heads into this season having had a successful three-year-old campaign followed by well over a year off the track.

A Group Two winner in the German 2,000 Guineas in 2022 and then fourth when beaten only half a length in the St James’s Palace Stakes, Maljoom clearly has plenty of ability.

Last season he was seen only once when fifth in the Joel Stakes and September but he is now preparing to make his seasonal debut at Ascot next month in the Listed Paradise Stakes.

He also holds a Lockinge entry but may find that contest comes around too soon as the Newbury fixture is on May 18.

“He’s going to the Paradise Stakes on May 1 and then we will decide if he goes for the Lockinge,” Haggas said.

“I wanted to run him earlier than that so the Lockinge is probably a long shot, but I need to get his show back on the road, he’s in good shape.

“He’s only run once since the St James’s Palace and he’s very much trying to get his show back on the road.

“He’s a talented horse but a fragile one, but to be fair to him he’s trained very well this spring.”

Stablemate Montassib started his season on a high note when landing the Cammidge Trophy ahead of Marshman at Doncaster on the opening weekend of the turf season, though the runner-up was well beaten in the Abernant next time out.

The Duke Of York could await Haggas’ runner and there are French contests on the table also.

“He needs a bit of cut in the ground and he’s in the Duke Of York, he might go there,” the trainer said.

“The form of his race at Doncaster fell in a heap in the Abernant the other day and he could go for a Listed race at Chantilly on May 14 – we might do that.”

One Haggas runner that will not be seen on a racecourse again is Sense Of Duty, a talented Group-winning mare whose career has been cut short by an injury.

“Regrettably I think she has fractured her pelvis, so she will sadly be retired,” Haggas said.

“It’s very frustrating for Andrew Stone who owns her, but she will make a broodmare for him.

“It’s always horrible for a trainer when you know a horse has talent and you never get to the bottom of her.”

Ross O’Sullivan’s Follow Me made a pleasing start to life in Ireland when landing the Treacy Group Irish EBF Maiden at Curragh.

The three-year-old hit the frame several times last season in France before changing hands, but drifted out to 22-1 to score for new connections at the first time of asking.

Despite those odds he came with a strong challenge close to home and crossed the line half a length to the good under Shane Foley.

“I couldn’t believe he was drifting (in the betting) and was getting nervous had we got it wrong,” said O’Sullivan.

“Shane Foley has ridden him in work for the last six weeks and thought a lot of him.

“Tom Malone bought him at a sale in France for Amanda (Torrens, owner). She put an order in for him to find a nice horse and fair play he took his time and this horse popped up.

“As soon as he came off the box I liked him. He has size and scope. He had good form in France as a two-year-old but looked like a three-year-old. He’s a tall horse with a good temperament.

“He was declared for the meeting here that was called off and then we were thinking of running him in Dundalk, but we said we’d sit and wait for the Curragh.

“He had form over six, seven and a mile but showed plenty of pace in his work.

“Hopefully he can take us to the big days and we can have a nice summer with him. We’ll have to sit down now and make a plan.”

Denis Cullen’s Zephron took the PG Duffy & Sons Citroen Handicap by half a length under Wayne Hassett.

A 13-2 shot, the gelding handled the soft to heavy ground best of all to add a fifth career win to his tally.

“It looked like they went pretty hard early, and Wayne said he got squeezed back a bit but was happy to take his time,” said Cullen.

“He likes the Curragh and handles that ground well. He had a nice run in Naas which brought him on a lot and he seemed in good form today.

“He has form on most types of ground but handles that better than most horses. We’ll see what way the weather goes, and he could end up back in Galway for something. He got touched off there a few years ago.”

Aidan Howard’s Magical Vision then came out on top in the five-furlong Newbridge Silverware Sprint Handicap.

The mare is well-proven on heavy ground and demonstrated that ability again with a one-and-a-quarter-length victory under Chris Hayes at 100-30.

“We were hopeful today. I was a little bit concerned about the ground being tacky, but she seemed to handle it well,” the trainer said.

“She travelled very well, and I think five (furlongs) is definitely her trip.

“We’ll keep an eye on the weather now and she won’t run on quick ground.”

Natalia Lupini’s Redshore City (9-1) came out on top in a blanket finish to the Business Plus Handicap winning by a short head, a neck and a neck.

Donnacha O’Brien’s Yosemite Valley battled hard to take the Lester Piggott Gladness Stakes at the Curragh.

The colt is well versed when it comes to racing at the track, finishing second to Little Big Bear in the Anglesey Stakes as a juvenile and was having his fifth outing there from just seven in all.

He started this season off at Cork in Listed company, finishing second but looked a different proposition this time.

On returning to the Curragh the four-year-old was a 3-1 chance upped to seven furlongs and was a comfortable winner under Gavin Ryan when crossing the line two and three-quarter lengths ahead of 7-4 favourite Jumbly.

“It was a good performance. I always thought he was a proper horse but he was unlucky a few times,” said O’Brien.

“He ran well in Cork the last day and the step up to seven seemed to suit him. It’s nice to get a stakes win into him.

“He could get away with a stiff six, but he travelled so well there today and all the big seven-furlong races will be open to him.”

Of future plans the trainer added: “There is the Maurice de Gheest over six and a half in France. Whether he’s up to that level I don’t know but I’d like to give him a shot at it to see.

“The Greenlands is here in about a month but that is back to six. A stiff six could be an option or we might give him a little break and aim for seven furlongs in France.”

Ollie Sangster is hopeful Shuwari will be able to make her mark in the second half of the season, with a setback having scuppered an intended crack at the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

The Manton handler revealed last month that his Fillies’ Mile runner-up would be denied a return to Newmarket on May 5 for a shot at Classic glory, with the daughter of New Bay set to be on the sidelines for the first half of the new campaign.

However, optimism is high that she will be back later in the summer to take part in plenty of high-ranking assignments.

“She’s OK and she will hopefully be back for the second half of the season,” said Sangster.

“There’s no immediate plans and we will make a bit more of a plan in a couple of months, I would say it would be July onwards (when she is back).

“She’s fine and a good patient and she will be back. She is a filly who will probably stay in training next season anyway, but it is a shame to miss the Guineas, a shame for the yard and owners, but she will have plenty of nice targets later on.”

Sangster also feels there is more to come from talented three-year-old Per Contra, with the Wathnan Racing-owned colt backed to build on a successful low-key comeback at Wolverhampton.

“He ran really well at Wolverhampton having been off for a while,” continued Sangster.

“He’s gone up to 92 and hopefully he will be a horse who will have a nice pot in him somewhere this season.

“He should keep improving and he wouldn’t have been best suited by Wolverhampton really. He’ll improve as the year goes on and for running on a nice galloping track, so hopefully 92 isn’t the bottom of him.”

There was no surprise that the name O’Brien dominated the opening two races at the Curragh but it was Joseph who unleashed two hugely promising juveniles, beating two trained by his father Aidan in the process.

Midnight Strike made a brilliant start to his career when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race.

The Starspangledbanner colt was a 15-2 chance under Dylan Browne McMonagle but oozed class throughout.

In a field of six Midnight Strike was always travelling strongly and had gained a clear lead by the final furlong marker, going on to cross the line two lengths ahead of Treasure Isle (5-4 favourite), the first two-year-old runner this season for Aidan O’Brien.

“I thought he was a nice colt but didn’t expect him to win like that,” the winning trainer said.

“He looks an Ascot-type horse and he’s another nice Starspangledbanner for the owners.

“We thought he’d stay six but was certainly quick enough to start at five. He looks very smart.”

The younger O’Brien then struck again in the Keadeen Hotel Irish EBF Maiden with Cowardofthecounty, a 17-2 chance under Browne McMonagle.

Again the market was dominated by a Ballydoyle horse as Whistlejacket, a full brother to former champion two-year-old Little Big Bear, went off the evens favourite.

Whistlejacket took up an early lead and looked the winner at one stage, but Cowardofthecounty loomed up beside him to prevail by two and a half lengths.

“This fella looked like he could be a bit special at home but you’re never really sure with a two-year-old until they go to the races,” O’Brien said.

“He’s a particularly laid back horse and couldn’t have been more impressive. He’s a big horse, well over 500 kilos which for a two-year-old at this stage is a lot.

“He could go straight for the Coventry now. He’s such a big horse I don’t know does he need to run again but we’ll have to see.

“We knew when the horse ran well in the first that there was a good chance this lad would run well too.

“A lot of people pitch in two-year-olds with an older horse to give them a guide, but we don’t and keep the two-year-olds together.

“They are the first two colts that we have run and it looks like we have a couple of nice ones!

“They have both been away once and today is just the second time they have been on grass. We don’t drill our two-year-olds and like them to progress. It bodes well on what they have done today.”

Stafanie Taylor's brilliant innings of 73 runs guided the West Indies Women to a nerve-wracking two-wicket win over Pakistan Women in the second ODI of their series at the National Stadium in Karachi on Sunday.

Chasing a challenging target of 223 set by Pakistan, the West Indies found themselves in a tense battle, eventually reaching 225-8 off the final ball of the match to secure an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Player of the Match Taylor was the linchpin of the West Indies' chase, anchoring the innings with crucial partnerships. Taylor's stand with Shemaine Campbell, who contributed a valuable 52 runs, proved pivotal as they shared an 88-run partnership for the third wicket. Captain Hayley Matthews also made a significant contribution with 44 runs before departing.

The West Indies Women looked poised for victory but encountered late drama, losing quick wickets that put the match on a knife's edge. Nida Dar's exceptional bowling effort (4-52) created tension in the dying moments, but the Caribbean side managed to hold their nerve.

In a thrilling finish, with the West Indies needing three runs off the final delivery, Karishma Ramharack smashed a boundary off Fatima Sana to seal the victory in dramatic fashion.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan Women won the toss and opted to bat first, posting a competitive total of 222 runs. Sidra Ameen's half-century (50) and Bismah Maroof's valuable 65 laid a solid foundation for Pakistan, with the pair stitching together an 80-run partnership for the second wicket.

However, the West Indies bowlers fought back strongly, led by Chinelle Henry (3-37) and Ramharack (3-48), who inflicted crucial blows to derail Pakistan's innings. Afy Fletcher also contributed with the ball, taking 2-46 to restrict Pakistan's scoring.

Despite the loss, Pakistan Women showed resilience and fought hard throughout the match, setting up an enthralling contest with the West Indies Women.

In a spectacular display of dominance, Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard delivered an outstanding performance, scoring 63 goals to lead the West Coast Fever to a resounding 81-56 victory over the Sunshine Coast Lightning in their Suncorp Super Netball League home opener on Saturday night.

The Fever continued their winning streak, extending their record to two wins without dropping a single quarter in their opening games. On the other hand, the Sunshine Coast Lightning, considered premiership favorites, faced a challenging defeat at the hands of the Fever.

Fowler-Nembhard's remarkable accuracy was on full display, with the Jamaican shooter missing just two shots throughout the match. Despite the Lightning's best efforts, including strong defensive play from Courtney Bruce against her former team, Fowler-Nembhard proved unstoppable.

The game started with a flurry of action, as Fowler-Nembhard quickly secured the Fever's first two goals. However, the Lightning fought back to even the scores after trailing early. The Fever's defensive unit applied intense pressure, disrupting the Lightning's attacking combinations, especially after Cara Koenen (21/25) replaced Steph Fretwell in the shooting circle.

As the match progressed into the second quarter, the Fever steadily increased their lead, capitalizing on turnovers and defensive stops. Shanice Beckford's (8/11) pivotal role in the midcourt enabled Fowler-Nembhard to find space and capitalize on scoring opportunities.

The Lightning faced setbacks with Fretwell exiting the court due to an ankle injury, further impacting their offensive flow. Despite efforts to close the gap, the Lightning struggled to contain the Fever's relentless attack.

In the third quarter, the Fever maintained their control, with Beckford and Fowler-Nembhard continuing to dominate in the shooting circle. The Lightning, needing super shots to narrow the deficit, fell short against the Fever's strong defensive presence.

The fourth quarter saw a determined Lightning side trying to stage a comeback, led by Courtney Bruce's defensive efforts. However, the Fever's consistent scoring and strategic play extended their lead further.

With 10 minutes remaining, Lightning coach Belinda Reynolds called for a tactical timeout, urging her team to take risks and reduce the deficit. Despite their efforts, the Fever's relentless performance and precise shooting ultimately secured them a commanding 25-goal victory.


Over at the Ken Roswell Arena, Trinidad and Tobago’s Samantha Wallace-Joseph scored was perfect from the field, scoring 37 goals in the New South Wales Swifts 67-56 win over the Melbourne Mavericks.

Meanwhile, defending champions, Adelaide Thunderbirds suffered a narrow 54-53 loss to Melbourne Vixens despite an impressive 28 goals from just 30 attempts from Romelda Aiken-George.


Kikkuli will take a step up in grade in Sandown’s Chasemore Farm Stud Staff Heron Stakes next month after shedding his maiden tag at Newmarket’s Craven meeting.

A half-brother to the mighty Frankel and by Juddmonte’s Classic-winning sire Kingman, the Harry Charlton-trained colt made an encouraging debut on the Rowley Mile behind subsequent Listed winner Zoum Zoum last autumn.

On his seasonal return at HQ, the last foal out of Frankel’s dam Kind advertised his star potential when outbattling Charlie Appleby’s Creative Story in the hands of Ryan Moore.

He will now make the move up to Listed level as connections seek further evidence of his limit, where a positive performance will put the talented prospect in line for further big-race assignments at Royal Ascot.

“It was brilliant to see what he did and he had a big run at Newmarket last year (on debut) when he was about 75-80 per cent. That was a big run and the form of the race was franked,” said Barry Mahon, Juddmonte’s European racing manager.

“Tuesday was good and I thought in the last furlong if he wanted to give it up he could have, and he didn’t. He stuck his head out and went on and Ryan was complimentary of him.

“He came out of the race well and we will now look forward to the Heron (Stakes) with him. It looks to be the next logical step and if he is ready for another step up after that it brings you nicely into Royal Ascot and a whole host of races.

“We’ll concentrate on the Heron next and see where we go from there, we look forward to it.”

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