Caravaggio seeks to redeem dented reputation in Curragh speed test

Sun 10 Sep 2017

By Racinguk.com staff

Caravaggio bids to redeem his tall reputation as a top-drawer sprinter when he lines up for the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

The sky appeared to be the limit for the three-year-old colt after he took his 100 per cent record to six with a stunning victory over Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

However, his last two runs have been something of an anti-climax.

Things did not work out in the July Cup at Newmarket, where he was a never-nearer fourth behind Harry Angel, and it was a similar story in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, where he was sixth to Brando.

Aidan O'Brien said: "He's in good form. We just felt he had a few things that didn't suit him in Deauville which we spoke about, but we're happy with the way he's moving and he seems to be in very good form.

"Obviously the faster the ground the better it will suit him, but he has form with ease in the ground as well."

David Griffiths is happy to take on Caravaggio with evergreen veteran Duke Of Firenze. The Bawtry handler reports the eight-year-old 100 per cent again after he missed the Nunthorpe due to a slight setback the night before the York showpiece.

"He's well now and is fine having arrived over there," said Griffiths. "Obviously it's very tough, but going on his Epsom Dash form with Caspian Prince, that would put him somewhere near.

"The money's fantastic there and he won't mind the ground. He's in really good form and I think he's got a good draw (in stall nine).

"We're not drawn far from Caspian Prince and Caravaggio. Fran Berry knows him, he's finished second on him before. It's a massive step up, but I think he deserves to take his chance. We're quite hopeful."

Tony Coyle is dreaming of a possible trip to America should Caspian Prince do the business. The Breeders' Cup Sprint at Del Mar on November 4 is the ultimate objective for the eight-year-old speedster, who took the scalp of subsequent Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Marsha on his last trip to the Curragh in the Sapphire Stakes in July.

Coyle said: "He's in good order, he's ready to go and he's in good form. He looks well and he's working well so it's all systems go."

The Malton-based handler added: "We gave him a break and he was never going to go to York for the Nunthorpe. He doesn't seem to like it there. He's been there twice and not run very well.

"It's a serious pot at the Curragh and he goes on any ground, but we would rather have it firm. He rattles off it. If he wins on Sunday, he'll go to America for the Breeders' Cup. It's a win-and-you're-in race.

"That's why he's not even entered for the Prix de l'Abbaye. He can't do all three races. There's the quarantine as well. That's the plan."

Hit The Bid is another horse refreshed after having an easy time since finishing a creditable fourth behind Caspian Prince in the Sapphire Stakes.  

Trainer Darren Bunyan said: "He's had a break after the last day and he's improved again. The horse is in better shape than he's ever been. For a three-year-old sprinter doing the things he's done, it just shows you the level where he's going to be next year.

"The three-year-old year is usually a wipe-out for proper five-furlong horses and he's doing things he shouldn't be doing."

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