Caravaggio and Churchill in the mix for Phoenix Stakes

Aidan O’Brien’s exciting youngster Caravaggio is among the 10 two-year-olds in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

Ante-post market leader for the 2000 Guineas, the unbeaten winner of Royal Ascot’s Coventry Stakes is one six possibles for the Group One over six furlongs hailing from the O’Brien yard.

The others are headed by Derby favourite Churchill, winner of the Chesham Stakes at the Royal meeting and the Group Three Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown.

Courage Under Fire, Edgar Allan Poe, Intelligence Cross and Duchess of Cambridge Stakes scorer Roly Poly complete the Ballydoyle squad.

O’Brien’s son, Joseph, is represented by Ambiguity, while Ger Lyons has left in his Railway Stakes victor Medicine Jack.

The John Murphy-trained Confrontational and Johnny Murtagh’s Grand Coalition are also in contention.

On the same card, trainer David O’Meara has supplemented Lord Of The Land for the Qatar Racing Club Phoenix Sprint Stakes.

The five-year-old, who was trained in France by Andre Fabre until this season, has gradually been getting his act together and was a good fifth to The Tin Man in the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury on his latest start.

O’Meara has left in his July Cup runner-up Suedois at the confirmation stage after which 14 stood their ground. However, he is expected to run in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on the same afternoon.

Richard Fahey’s Eastern Impact and Aclaim from Martyn Meade’s stable are the other British-trained runners left in the six-furlong Group Three contest.

Tom Hogan’s evergreen veteran Gordon Lord Byron may go for a hat-trick after returning to form with wins at Tipperary and the Curragh on his last two outings.

Eddie Lynam has left in Moviesta and Fort Del Oro, while Aidan O’Brien can select from Cougar Mountain, The Happy Prince, Classic disappointment Air Force Blue and Air Vice Marshal. The list is completed by Flight Risk, Jamesie and Toscanini.

Meanwhile, Marsha is likely to have her attentions turned towards a shot at the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh as opposed to being supplemented for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Connections have decided against running the Mark Prescott-trained three-year-old in the Group One prize at the Knavesmire on August 19, in favour of taking her on a trip to Ireland for the Group Two contest on September 11.

Although tasting defeat on her first two starts of the season, the daughter of Acclamation has since found her form after being dropped back to the minimum trip, having collected a brace of Listed wins before finishing a close-up fifth in the King George Stakes at Goodwood on Friday.

Dan Downie, spokesman for owners Elite Racing Club, said: “Marsha is in good form and is absolutely fine after Goodwood. If you ran the race a few times over you would have got several different results.

“She will now probably go back to Ireland on September 11 for the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh and not the Nunthorpe.

“If she had won at Goodwood on Friday then it (Nunthorpe) is something we would have had to seriously consider.

“The race in Ireland is worth a lot of money, though, so we are going there instead.”

William Buick made a successful return from his enforced 30-day spell out of the saddle with victory aboard Gilgamesh at Nottingham last night.

His first ride back came for George Scott aboard Gilgamesh (5-2) in the 32Red Online Casino Median Auction Maiden Stakes and the pair prevailed by three-quarters of a length from One Too Many.

A spare ride for Mark Johnston on See The City (2-1) favourite in the 32Red.com Nursery provided a swift double.

And the perfect few hours briefly looked on the cards when Ed Walker’s Rococoa threw down her challenge in the 32Red Fillies’ Handicap, but she ultimately found Southern Belle (5-1) too strong.


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