Lord on track for Sapphire

DESERT Lord will bid for his first Group-race success since winning the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in 2006 when he lines up for Sunday’s William Fry Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh.

Kevin Ryan’s speedster finished last in France at the start of the month but previously took a creditable third behind Fleeting Spirit in the Temple Stakes at Haydock.

“We’re planning to go to the Curragh on Sunday,” confirmed North Yorkshire-based Ryan. “I’ve been delighted with him this season and he seems in good order at the moment.

“We bypassed Royal Ascot to wait for this race at the weekend. Benbaun is there but nine times out of 10 when one of those two runs, the other one will too.

“We all know how much Benbaun loves running at the Curragh but Desert Lord has run well there in the past as well.

“He’ll go to the Curragh, then for the Nunthorpe and then probably the Prix de l’Abbaye – that’ll probably be his season this year.”

Desert Lord finished second to Kingsgate Native in the Coolmore Nunthorpe last August and – along with John Best’s stable star – is one of 47 entered for the five-furlong feature this year.

Meanwhile Katiyra is giving connections the right signs as the daughter of Peintre Celebre prepares for a crack at the Darley Irish Oaks on July 13.

Trained by John Oxx, the lightly-raced filly finished a highly-creditable third behind Look Here in the English equivalent, having initially looked in trouble as the principals entered the Epsom straight.

Oxx said: “She’s in good form and had an easy time for a week or so after Epsom, but she’s beginning to step back up again now.

“She’s in good shape and we’re all set for the Irish Oaks in two weeks on Sunday.

“She lost a bit of ground coming down the hill and into the straight at Epsom so she did well to run as close as she did.

“The form of the race seems to be working out well and the time was good so I think it was a good renewal of the Oaks.

“She just needs to progress a little now and if she can improve she could fight out the finish – although there are other good fillies on the upgrade too.”

Providing Katiyra acquits herself with credit in the Curragh Classic next month, Oxx will consider a crack at the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York on August 21.

“Depending on how she gets on at the Curragh it would be an obvious follow-up race,” he added.

“If you have one that has fought out the finish in the Irish Oaks it is the obvious next step to take.”

Katiyra is one of 48 fillies and mares entered in the Yorkshire Oaks, which has also attracted the likes of Halfway To Heaven, Lush Lashes and Peeping Fawn.

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