The Michael O’Callaghan-trained Twilight Jet proved the star of yesterday’s Trial Day card in Naas, making an impressive seasonal debut in the Group 3 Goffs Lacken Stakes and earning a crack at Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Cup (group 1) next month.
The Twilight Sun colt endured a busy, globee-trotting campaign as a juvenile, culminating at the Breeders Cup. But he showed no ill effects here, blazing the trail up the Naas hill and running on strongly to beat favourite New York City by three lengths.
“He should have a big year ahead of him,” declared a delighted O’Callaghan, “We didn’t get a clear run with him through the spring, but he has come forward well in the last ten days or two weeks.
“He’s a fine, big horse. Leigh said he took a blow and picked-up again, and then took plenty of pulling-up. So I expect him to improve significantly from today. He’ll be heading for the Commonwealth Cup now with a big chance.”
Aidan O’Brien captured the other Group 3 on the card, the Coolmore Fillies Sprint 2-Y-0 Stakes, final leg of a Sunday treble for Ballydoyle and a double for Wayne Lordan.
The No Nay Never filly wore down trail-blazing fellow joint-favourite inside the final furlong before holding Comhra and It’s Showtime Baby.
And O’Brien said, “She’s very laid-back at home, so it’s hard to get a read on her at home. But Wayne was very happy with her. The extra furlong suited her and the plan has been that if everything went well today, she’d be aimed at the ‘Albany” (at Royal Ascot) and, that’s still the plan.”
The Ballydoyle treble (which also included Galleria Borghese’s fillies maiden win) was initiated when Battaash’s brother The Antarctic built on his debut success in Tipperary and justified 4/9 favouritism in the Coolmore Stud Calyx 2-Y-0 Race. He, too, is bound for Royal Ascot, as his trainer confirmed, “He’s a fast horse with a lot of natural speed. Seamus (Heffernan) feels that the fast they go, the more it will suit him. He’s a real sprinter, a real five-furlong horse and will go for the ‘Norfolk’.
Joseph O’Brien’s Brostaigh saw off Logo Hunter in the Sole Power Sprint Stakes, O’Brien commenting: “That’s job done – she’s a stakes winner and will run away in fillies sprints for the season.”