Tunbridge Wells could be in line for Coventry Stakes after impressive Curragh showing

Aidan O’Brien ‘delighted’ after son of No Nay Never justifies 4-11 price

Trainer Aidan O'Brien enjoyed success at the Curragh on Wednesday. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

Tunbridge Wells entered the Royal Ascot reckoning with a fine display at the Curragh on Wednesday. Beaten three lengths on debut at Navan last month, Aidan O’Brien’s son of No Nay Never was a much more polished performer when sent off the 4-11 favourite in the Holden Plant Rentals Irish EBF Race.

Away well and always up with the pace, he showed a professional attitude when asked to quicken to win his race by Ryan Moore, keeping on strongly to score by two and three-quarter lengths.

A brother to dual Group One scorer Blackbeard, he could now follow in his sibling’s footsteps and tackle the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting, with Paddy Power making the youngster 25-1 from 33s for that two-year-old event later this month.

“We’re delighted with him, he’s a baby still. He’ll go into the Ascot picture and if he doesn’t go there he’ll come back here for the Railway,” said O’Brien.


“He’ll have no problem staying further in time, but he’s green and babyish still.”

There was an all O’Brien finish to the mile-and-a-half Sky Bet Club Fillies’ Maiden, where the Wayne Lordan-ridden Grateful (13-2) hunted down the 4-6 favourite and stablemate Mother Nature in the shadow of the post.

Returning after an absence of 298 days, the winner holds an entry in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks over the same course and distance next month.

O’Brien said: “She’s by Galileo and has an unbelievable pedigree. She got a little setback last year and we didn’t get to run her. She just took a bit of time to come and Wayne said there is a lot to come from her.

“We’ll let her step up and progress away and he said she’d be very happy to step back in trip. It’s all positive.”

On the runner-up Mother Nature, he added: “When she got left by herself she was very green. Ryan said she was pricking her ears going to the line. She was like that in Dundalk and I’d say she’ll take a few runs.”

Eyeing opportunities closer to home is Jessica Harrington’s Hotazhell after opening his account at the second attempt in the Spar Shop At The Curragh Irish EBF.

The son of Too Darn Hot finished off strongly to cross the line a length and a quarter ahead of Donnacha O’Brien’s Mount Parnassus, with Ballydoyle’s 3-1 chance Swagman back in third.

“He’s a lovely horse. He’s probably growing a bit at the moment and he’s not going to Ascot,” said Harrington of her 5-4 favourite.

“We’ll take our time with him, he’s in the Railway Stakes but that’s only six furlongs. He’s won over seven and if we doing anything we’d go up.

“I know he’s a Too Darn Hot, but he finished off very strong. He’s a really nice horse. He got away with that ground, but probably wants it a little easier.

“Unless we went somewhere in France I’d almost sit and wait with him for the National Stakes, or something like that.

“He’s a smashing horse. He’s carrying the Pathfork colours, who was my first Group One winner.”