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Karkiyna will be the second Aga Khan-owned runner saddled by Johnny Murtagh in the opening six-furlong maiden and any market support would warrant respect. It was fantastic to see the Murtagh team secure Royal Ascot success last week and this daughter of Caravaggio makes her debut under jockey Ben Coen. Karakoul, who finished down the field at Naas was the first Aga Khan owned runner trained by Murtagh at Naas earlier this season.
The market will also prove the best guide towards the chances of Sablonne, Sacred Bridge and Vivaia who also race on debut. Sablonne runs in the colours of Albany Stakes winner Sandrine, with the Jessica Harrington trained filly a home-bred from Kristen Rousing’s Lanwades Stud. Vivaia for Dermot Weld and Sacred Bridge for Ger Lyons represent the powerful Moyglare and Juddmonte operations.
AGARTHA gets the vote to score with Joseph O’Brien’s daughter of Caravaggio having the benefit of two starts when third on both occasions at the Curragh and Navan. She wasn’t beaten far behind Prettiest at Navan with Aidan O’Brien’s filly finishing fourth in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last Friday. Shane Crosse can keep things simple and will hopefully make benefit of her experience to race handy and strike in opener on Wednesday afternoon.
ANGEL PALM will appreciate the nice ground conditions at Naas and can secure a second career victory for Ger Lyons in this six furlong handicap. The daughter of Dark Angel broke her maiden in nice fashion at Leopardstown last August before disappointing at the Curragh in the Group 3 Weld Park Stakes on her final start of the season. Her seasonal return at Fairyhouse 12-days was an eye-catching performance having raced wide and out the back of the field before showing a nice turn of foot in the closing furlong to finish fourth under Colin Keane.
The Juddmonte owned filly will be hard to beat on that performance off the same rating of 92 and looks one of the best bets on the card. Giorgio Vasari steps into handicap company having contested several group races, while Mickey The Steel has not raced since finishing second in the Birdcatcher Nursery here last November. Wood Ranger was just in behind on that occasion and would likely appreciate some cut in the ground for Willie McCreery. Siobhan Rutledge takes off 7lbs from No More Porter who can’t be discounted despite a 15lb rise in the ratings following an easy victory at the Curragh earlier this month.
The feature Naas Oaks Trial looks an interesting renewal and has been a contest were both Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld have dominated over the past decade. Alazenya was impressive when winning on debut for the Rosewell team at Leopardstown earlier this season with Weld describing her as a smart filly with plenty of pace. She’s an interesting runner on just her second career start with O’Brien declaring High Heels, La Joconde, Willow and Woodland Garden in opposition.
High Heels has some of the best form on offer with Seamie Heffernan’s mount finishing fourth in the Blue Wind Stakes and third in the Munster Oaks already this season. Willow was just ahead of her stable-mate in the Blue Wind and returns here having disappointed when finishing last in the Oaks at Epsom. La Joconde also returns from Epsom but is held on form with the Weld filly from Leopardstown in April.
WOODLAND GARDEN will represent value among the Ballydoyle runners and might cause a surprise following her comfortable maiden victory at Gowran Park just 10 days ago. The better ground clearly brought out improvement in the daughter of Galileo with winning rider Seamie Heffernan’s post-race comments quite interesting; “I’d be very surprised if she doesn’t end up winning a Stakes race over that trip or a little further.” Killian Hennessy is picking up a nice ride on an improving filly in a race where O’Brien has won with plenty of bigger-priced outsiders in the past.
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There are several pieces of collateral form lines between these runners in what looks a competitive apprentice handicap over the mile trip. ONEIROI has been consistent this season and despite having to reverse the form with Kosman from Leopardstown earlier this month, the five-year-old gets the verdict to score under Luke McAteer. The son of Morpheus’ only poor run this season came when finishing down the field on yielding to soft ground at the Curragh in early May.
His placed efforts at Leopardstown behind Indian Lilac and Overheer were respectful before going even closer when second to Duquesa Beach at Gowran Park last week. The likely strong pace should suit his running style with St Clerans, now wearing a visor and running for the first time for Willie McCreery a danger along with recent Listowel second Fugacious.
The closing 7 furlong maiden looks a golden opportunity for CHICAGO BLACK HAWK to secure a first career victory following several good runs for Johnny Murtagh. The son of Night Of Thunder returns having been gelded last month following two starts at Gowran Park and Cork earlier this season. His juvenile form reads nicely having finished seventh to High Definition on debut at the Curragh before returning to HQ to run third to Van Gogh last September.
He’s likely to improve for both the better ground and been gelded in what doesn’t look the strongest of contests to end the card. Baldomero will also appreciate the nice ground conditions for Joseph O’Brien, while Hamwood Flier is another danger for Jessica Harrington following three placed starts this year. Mutasarref looks the best of the newcomers for Dermot Weld with Colin Keane booked on the Shadwell homebred by Dark Angel, out of Mulkeyya.
JAMES SHORTT’S NAAS SELECTIONS – WEDNESDAY
16:25 – Agartha
17:00 – Angel Palm
18:30 – Woodland Garden
19:30 – Oneiroi
20:00 – Chicago Black Hawk
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