Brendan Duke dares to dream as Warm The Voice takes aim at Beresford Stakes

Sat 23 Sep 2017

Brendan Duke believes Warm The Voice can take him to the "promised land" with victory in the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at Naas on Sunday.

The Dublin-born handler spent two decades assisting training great Jim Bolger and after a year with Charlie Mann, he went it alone in 2001, first in Lambourn before returning to his homeland six years ago.

It is an association that has stood the test of time, with Bolger and his wife Jackie sending several horses to Duke's Curragh stables in the last few years.

The likeable trainer feels he has a potential superstar on his hands in Warm The Voice.

Duke said: "The first horse Jim and Jackie sent me was a horse called Focussed in 2013. We managed to win a nursery in Galway with him and another nursery in Sligo.

"I managed to call it right with him and things have picked up from there, but this horse is definitely the best we've had so far.

"The Beresford Stakes is a race woven into the tapestry of Irish racing. Some absolute champions have won it and I feel very honoured to have a horse good enough to grace the race.

"Make no mistake, this horse is good enough."

Warm The Voice, a son of the Bolger-trained Vocalised, was third on his racecourse debut at Leopardstown in late July and has since completed a hat-trick at Galway, the Curragh and Listowel.

While he has not yet been tested at Pattern level, Duke feels his youngster is more than ready for the challenge.

"He's in tremendous form and there's absolutely no reason not to run him. Kevin (Manning) came and had a sit on him the other morning and told me he's absolutely perfect," said the County Kildare trainer.

"He's stepped up every time he's run. I think the race at Leopardstown was probably the best two-year-old colts' maiden run this year and then he went and won very impressively in Galway.

"There are no gimmes at the Galway Festival, I can assure you.

"He then carried top weight of 9st 7lb in a nursery at the Curragh and saw them off and when he went to Listowel, it was bottomless ground and he won again, so I'm not sure what more the horse could have done up to this point."

Warm The Voice is a 50-1 shot for next year's 2000 Guineas at Newmarket ahead of his weekend assignment and Duke believes he has been underestimated.

He said: "If he wasn't at this address, he would not be a 50-1 shot for the Guineas. He is at this address, thank God, and I feel very lucky to have him.

"Jim Bolger deserves an awful lot of credit for not persuading Jackie to take the horse away from me. I'm very grateful to him for that.

"I've spent a lot of my career in the desert. There's been the odd oasis here and there, for sure, but I think, and hope, we're about to arrive in the promised land."

Aidan O'Brien has saddled a staggering 16 previous winners of the one-mile Group Two, including the last six.

This year's Ballydoyle team is headed by Saxon Warrior, who made a huge impression on his Curragh debut.

O'Brien said: "Saxon Warrior won nicely at the Curragh last month and Donnacha (O'Brien) was very happy with him that day.

"The Beresford Stakes always looked a natural race for him, although he hasn't run on this type of ground, so we'll find out more about him on Sunday.

"He hasn't done a lot since the Curragh but he seems in good form."

O'Brien also runs Kew Gardens and Delano Roosevelt, who were second and third respectively behind stablemate Nelson in a Group Three at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend a fortnight ago.

The trainer said: "Kew Gardens and Delano Roosevelt ran well at Leopardstown. Both of them were probably a bit green early in the race but came home well.

"We think they're in good form."

The fourth home at Leopardstown, Mick Halford's Riyazan, completes the five-runner field.

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