So Perfect was one of four Aidan O'Brien-trained winners at Naas on Sunday, when the three-year-old filly justified odds-on favouritism in the Goffs Lacken Stakes. Ryan Moore rode three of the Ballydoyle winners and Seamie Heffernan was aboard the other.
So Perfect (by Scat Daddy) had shown top-class form as a juvenile, finishing second to Advertise in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and winning a Group 3.
She made a pleasing reappearance this season when third in the Fred Darling at Newbury, but her career now looks set to lie over sprinting trips after she showed a smart turn of foot at this six furlongs.
Ryan Moore brought her with a race-winning move down the centre of the track, which has not been the place to be so far this season at Naas. That mattered little, though, as they powered away to win by two and a quarter lengths.
So Perfect was sent off the 9/10 favourite, and Royal Ascot is now on the cards for the three-year-old. Gustavus Weston was second at 50/1, with Flash Gordon third.
“She’s a big, powerful mare and has the option of the Commonwealth (Cup) or the King’s Stand. I’m delighted we came back (in trip) with her,” said O’Brien.
Etoile, a daughter of War Front, made a winning debut in the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies’ Sprint Stakes for O’Brien.
Etoile wins the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies' Sprint Stakes in great style on debut for Aidan O'Brien ?? pic.twitter.com/VEzUeQdS9V— Horse Racing Ireland (@GoRacing) May 19, 2019
Ballydoyle interests pre-race had concentrated on Ryan Moore’s mount, So Wonderful, who had finished second to Ger Lyons’ Peace Charter last time out – and the pair met again.
However, odds-on favourite So Wonderful never looked like threatening – and while Peace Charter stayed on for pressure for Colin Keane, it was Etoile who showed the best turn of foot.
American Lady led against the far rail and held her advantage until deep inside the final furlong – but she had no answer to Etoile, who burst out of the pack in the hands of Seamie Heffernan.
The 12/1 chance won by half a length, with Peace Charter second and Celtic Beauty third.
“She is a work companion with the other filly and is very well bred,” said O’Brien. "Seamus was just saying that he rode her mother (Gagnoa) in the Irish Oaks to finish third behind two of ours (Moonstone and Ice Queen in 2008).
“She was working nicely, but first time it was a big ask for her. Obviously it was a good performance from a first-time-out filly, and you would imagine there would be plenty of improvement. I’d imagine she will go now for the Albany at Ascot.”
Pistoletto overcame some superficial injuries to land short odds and book his place at Royal Ascot in the Coolmore Gustav Klimt Race.
Pistoletto, full brother to a dual Group 1 winner in the US, makes it two wins from two by winning at @NaasRacecourse for the Ballydoyle team, but this was much harder than the betting suggested it would be— Racing TV (@RacingTV) May 19, 2019
Tips ?https://t.co/zMjpDSoMTC pic.twitter.com/2hsKbURyCd
Aidan O’Brien’s War Front colt was expected to tee himself up for a journey to England, facing just three rivals, and was sent off the 1/5 favourite under Ryan Moore.
Pistoletto did, though, become unsettled at the start, losing two shoes, and it later became apparent he had bitten his tongue – causing it to bleed.
All that may have affected his performance – but he was pushed all the way by Red Epaulette and Wyndham Belle, winning by half a length.
“He banged his hip going into the stalls and then got upset and kicked off both his back shoes,” said O’Brien. “There are plenty of marks on his back legs, so he did well really. It wasn’t a good experience for him.
“All being well, he will go to Ascot, and (either) five or six (furlongs) wouldn’t be a problem. He laboured today, and we thought he’d win easier, but there are plenty of reasons for it.”
LYNAM LANDS SPRINT
Eddie Lynam, the man who masterminded the career of top-class sprinter Sole Power, won the race named in his honour as Soffia came clear in the Sole Power Sprint Stakes.
The Sole Power Sprint Stakes appropriately goes to an Eddie Lynam-trained filly as Soffia wins at @NaasRacecourse with the English raider Final Venture second— Racing TV (@RacingTV) May 19, 2019
Results ?https://t.co/glajGV55GR pic.twitter.com/omOKYuIdhP
Lynam, who has endured a quiet few seasons, appears to have an upwardly mobile filly in his care in the shape of Soffia.
Second in a listed race over the same course and distance to Urban Beat last time out, the Lady O’Reilly-owned four-year-old was winning for the fourth time in 12 outings.
Paul Midgley’s British raider Final Venture broke smartly and bagged the rail, moving into an early advantage.
With more than a furlong to run, Leigh Roche tried to put the race to bed and he had everything else in trouble apart from Soffia – who quickened up and in a matter of strides to seal victory.
The 3/1 joint-favourite was eased down close home by Declan McDonogh, beating fellow her market leader by a length and a half.
Lynam said: “It’s nice to win a few quid of your own back, because I sponsored the race with Sabina (Power, owner of Sole Power). She’s by the same sire as Sole Power as well, and has been running very well.
“Declan was very confident before the race – and he’s usually like me, a bit negative. He thinks she’s getting quicker, and a fast-run five (furlongs) suits her.
“I have her entered for the Ballyogan (June 7th) and I’d love to go for it, because it’s fillies only – and she’s pretty good up the Curragh. I’ll talk to Lady O’Reilly and see where we want to go.
“She was my daughter Amy’s first pin-hook. She bought her as a foal for 16 grand, and I had to give her 52 grand as a yearling – but she’s turned out cheap.”
LYONS ON TARGET
Ger Lyons and Colin Keane continued their good recent run of form when Kaftan reeled in Dermot Weld’s Kiss For A Jewel close home in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.
A promising fourth on her only outing last season, the favourite got first run – but Kaftan (4/1) quickened nicely and looks another nice prospect for owner Khalid Abdullah.
“The fillies have been very slow coming to hand,” said Lyons. “They have not been showing anything, but there is no prize money at home.
“They are all ready to start, just like she is, and there is plenty of improvement in her. She looks a 10-furlong filly, going forward.
“Her first run is Group 3 form, and I know Dermot likes his filly, so you would like to think she’s a black-type filly in the making. I don’t think she’s mature enough for Ascot, so we’ll stay at home and let her come along slowly.
“It’s nice to see that, because there are a bunch of fillies ready to start that aren’t setting the place on fire at home.”