Requin Bleu for Ascot

 

REQUIN BIJEU, an impressive winner on his debut at the Curragh in March, followed up with a convincing success in yesterday's Oldtown Stud Race at Naas. The big three-year-old now has his sights set on next month's Cork and Orrery Stakes at Royal Ascot, a race his sire Thatching won for Vincent O'Brien back in 1979.

"He's a really good horse, but he is so green. He will be better suited to a straight course," said winning trainer Aidan O'Brien.

All at sea on the final bend, Requin Bleu did not get into top gear until inside the final furlong when, after brushing with his closest rival Pro Trader after a third backhander had been administered by Christy Roche, he quickened to win by a length, with Sheffield a close up third. He reverts to six furlongs at Ascot but he has foot and might well keep improving.

Theano, a debutante daughter of Thatching, got up close home to beat Khairaz and Class Note and register a double for the Aidan O'Brien-Christy Roche partnership in the Woodlands Maiden. A nice big filly the home-bred winner is entered in the Pretty Polly Stakes, but it remains to be seen if she can stay the extra two furlongs. She appears to have plenty of speed.

James Burns has his charges in good form and he was, particularly delighted that the filly Hint-Of-Romance won the opening Tipper Maiden for the winning owner-breeder and near neighbour Pat Cox. Ridden by Niall McCullagh, the winner led from the distance but showed greeness in running.

Samanid landed a gamble with a cantering win in the Grange Con Maiden Hurdle. A first winner for rider David Maher, the Paddy Burke-trained four-year-old led before the third last flight, and while stumbling over the next, was comfortably ahead with his 20-year-old rider affording himself the luxury of several back glances.

Trained by John Oxx to win a maiden on the flat at Roscommon in August, the Aga Khanbred finished fifth over this course in a maiden hurdle in January - his third outing over timber - and was placed last in a similar event at Gowran Park the following month. Burke said his horses - including Samanid - were affected by a virus and that yesterday's winner was unsuited to the soft ground at Gowran.

The stewards enquired into the apparent improvement in form, interviewing the trainer and Conor O'Dwyer, who rode Samanid at Gowran. Burke was fined £250 for failing to report what had happened to the horse at Gowran.