Michael O’Callaghan already has one eye on a potential trip to Royal Ascot with Spy Ring ahead of her appearance in the Coolmore Stud EBF Fillies’ Sprint Stakes at Naas tomorrow.
The daughter of Bushranger was made to pull out all the stops to make a winning debut at Cork a fortnight ago, but her young trainer expects her to raise her game significantly for this weekend’s Listed assignment and feels she will be a tough nut to crack.
“Spy Ring is a very smart filly who won her maiden well in Cork. She was green and wandered around a bit in front, but she did it well and hopefully she’ll step up on that,” said O’Callaghan.
“I think she could be an Albany filly and it will take a good one to beat her on Sunday.”
The young trainer also saddles Magical Fire, who finished sixth on her course and distance debut.
O’Callaghan said: “Magical Fire is a filly with a lot of class.
“She hasn’t won her maiden, but has only run the once and was green and inexperienced on the day.
“Hopefully she’ll improve and we’re chasing a bit of black type with her.”
Trainer Mick Halford has high hopes for Yulong Baobei, who certainly looked the part when pulling six lengths clear on her Dundalk introduction.
“We’ve liked her, but you never know until you start running them exactly where you are with them, but she’s working well and she’s professional,” said Halford.
“She goes about her job and is straightforward. She’s ready for the next step up now so she’s going into Listed company.
“She’s up to the challenge, we think.”
Three of the last four renewals of the six-furlong contest have gone to British raiders and there is a strong travelling party once again.
Richard Hannon, victorious with Sky Lantern (2012) and Great Page (2015) in recent years, saddles Goodwood runner-up Pepita.
Richard Fahey won the prize with Sandiva three years ago and he is represented by York second Megan Lily and Melesina.
Completing the British challenge is the James Tate-trained Seafront, who won at Beverley before finding one too good at Newmarket.
Aidan O’Brien runs course winner Cuff, as well as Elizabeth Browning and Hyzenthlay. Oh Grace, Wayside Flower and Tilly Trotter complete the 13-strong field.
* Jockey Martin Dwyer appears to have escaped serious injury after suffering a nasty fall at Bath.
Dwyer was standing in for the already-sidelined Cathy Gannon aboard the Stan Moore-trained Radar Love when he was thrown to the ground going to the start.
Radar Love was withdrawn, but the jockey’s agent Simon Dodds is hopeful he will make a swift return to action.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved