Connections of the Michael Halford-trained Shamardal colt were happy to approve the €10,000 fee to put the two-year-old in the Group Two following his fine effort in the National Stakes at the Curragh.
As short as 12-1 with totesport for the 2000 Guineas, the Sheikh Mohammed-owned youngster was touched off by the more experienced Pathfork on what was just his second career start, having won a Tipperary maiden the previous week.
“He’s been in great form since his run in the National Stakes. He worked well this morning so we decided to supplement him,” said County Kildare handler Halford.
“This could possibly be his last race of the season. It would be a decision we’d make after Sunday. We’re very pleased with him, but we’ll take one race at a time.”
The one-mile event has a rich recent history, with Alamshar, Azamour, Septimus, Sea The Stars and St Nicholas Abbey all on the roll of honour since 2000.
Eight of the 15 horses confirmed at the five-day stage are trained by Aidan O’Brien – Eskimo, Factum, Long Live the King, Master Of Hounds, Robin Hood, Samuel Morse, Seville and Treasure Beach.
Kevin Prendergast has two possibles for the one-mile feature in Longhunter and Mawaakef while Jim Bolger is double-handed with Gleadhradh and Music In The Rain.
The entries are completed by John Joseph Murphy’s Hold The Aces and Ted Walsh’s Rossvoss.
* BOOKMAKERS have started to shorten Makfi’s odds for Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the French raider is now challenging Canford Cliffs at the head of the market.
The Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs was originally the clear favourite but Coral now have the pair sharing that position at 13-8.
They have met twice this season, with Mikel Delzangles’ Makfi taking first blood in the 2000 Guineas, with Canford Cliffs in third, but the British colt levelled when Maki flopped in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
While Canford Cliffs went on to land the Sussex Stakes, Makfi returned to form in the Prix Jacques le Marois and appears to be thriving at home.
“He came back from his race in Deauville very well and he did a very nice piece of work yesterday. I think he is at his best,” said a confident Delzangles.
Coral said Canford Cliffs, previously the clear 6-4 market leader, had been easy to back.
* MARTIN Dwyer has broken his right thumb and a bone in his left elbow after suffering a bad fall at Leicester on Monday.
Red Lite jinked and unseated the Derby-winning jockey when holding every chance in the second division of the Aston Flamville Fillies’ Nursery.
Brian Meehan’s filly was neck and neck with eventual winner Speedfit Girl before jinking sharply to her left, giving Dwyer no chance of staying in the saddle.
The Berkshire-based rider stayed overnight in Leicester Royal Infirmary, where subsequent X-rays revealed breaks in an elbow and a thumb.
* ONLINE sports betting firm Betfair yesterday fired the starting gun on a flotation expected to value the firm at around £1.5bn.
The planned listing on the London Stock Exchange will enable founders Ed Wray and Andrew Black to sell some of their holdings in the company.
They launched the business 11 years ago and own a combined 24% stake in the firm.
The flotation, which has been the subject of City speculation for some time, is expected to earn Betfair a place in the FTSE 250 Index if it goes ahead.
Betfair, which has yet to provide pricing details for the offer, said it expected around 10% of the company to be sold by a number of its major shareholders. There are 14 major investors holding 75% of the company and Betfair said more than half of this group were likely to participate in the share sale.
A further 600 shareholders, who own around 25% of the company, will also be given the opportunity to sell stock. No new shares will be issued in the offer.