European Racing Report: O’Brien Unleashes Impressive 2yos at Naas

European Racing Report: O’Brien Unleashes Impressive 2yos at Naas

Breeders’ Cup Photo ©

On May 29th, Naas Racecourse in Ireland held a “Royal Ascot Trials Day” featuring four stakes races, and trainer Aidan O’Brien enjoyed a good afternoon while scoring impressive victories with the two-year-olds Peace Envoy and Cuff.

In the six-furlong Rochestown Stakes, Peace Envoy–a son of Power owned by Coolmore–won by a hard-fought half-length over Lundy after setting the pace most of the way. With Ryan Moore in the saddle, Peace Envoy was a bit green in the final furlong but showed good determination to hold off his charging rival in the time of 1:13.06 seconds.

The colt had previously won a maiden race at Dundalk in April and finished a close second in a five-furlong race at the Curragh.

About half an hour after Peace Envoy’s stakes triumph, O’Brien sent out Cuff to win the six-furlong Fillies’ Sprint Stakes. Once again with Moore aboard, Cuff settled in between horses and just behind the leaders early on, and despite racing in tight quarters, she ran professionally and accelerated powerfully once guided to the rail and into the clear. Taking command with a furlong to go, Cuff drew clear to win by three lengths in the time of 1:11.33 seconds, considerably quicker than the time posted by Peace Envoy.

Both Peace Envoy and Cuff could potentially run during the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting in June; according to Racing Post, O’Brien is considering Cuff for the six-furlong Albany Stakes (Eng-III) on June 17th. Cuff’s record now stands at two wins from three starts, as she finished fourth in her debut at Navan before winning a six-furlong maiden race at Naas on May 11th.

Also on the May 29th card at Naas, the three-year-old filly Anamba scored a solid two-length win against older horses in the seven-furlong Owenstown Stud Stakes, defeating thirteen rivals in the quick time of 1:23.39 seconds. In the featured Lacken Stakes (Ire-III), a six-furlong sprint for three-year-olds, the filly Only Mine romped to victory by 2 3/4 lengths over Aidan O’Brien’s colt Washington DC, who put in a solid rally to finish second under Ryan Moore. Washington DC, who won the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, is among the early entries for both the King’s Stand Stakes (Eng-I) and Commonwealth Cup (Eng-I) during the 2016 Royal Ascot meet. Should he run in the Commonwealth Cup, a six-furlong race for three-year-olds, he could face the talented U.S.-based filly Acapulco, who won the Unbridled Sydney Stakes at Churchill Downs earlier this month (click here for details).

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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