Bunyan eyes Birdcatcher at Naas with course and distance winner

16th Oct – Bunyan Eyes Birdcatcher at Naas with Course and Distance Winner


The Matchbook EBF Birdcatcher Premier Nursery has attracted a strong field this Sunday, headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Legacy Stakes winner All The King’s Men.

A strong field will assemble for the prestigious two-year-old contest at Naas and Darren Bunyan is hopeful of a big run from his course and distance maiden winner Chestnut Express.


The daughter of Camacho opened her account at Naas last month and is on course to take her place in the Matchbook Birdcatcher.

Bunyan said on Tuesday; “Chestnut Express is in great form and she has improved with every run as you can see. We are expecting a big run out of her in the Birdcatcher.


“She doesn’t want too much juice in the ground so all being well it looks like the ground at Naas is going to be perfect for her. She won her maiden at Naas so we know she handles the track perfectly and we are very happy with her at home.

“We believe she is a black-type filly so you would have to think that she’ll be very competitive off 80 in the Birdcatcher. We haven’t really been able to train her at home because of the ground and it has been her racing on the track has brought her forward a lot. We’ve seen the biggest improvement in her since Naas the last day and she’s been a different filly since.”


Gustavus Weston will bid to continue Joe Murphy’s strong finish to the season when he lines up in the €120,000 Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Final which heads a quality card at the Kildare venue on Sunday.


A total of 27 horses remain in finale of the season long series and Murphy looks to have one of the strongest contenders in Gustavus Weston. The Equiano gelding progressed from an encouraging debut fourth at Gowran to win nicely over six furlongs at Fairyhouse late last month. Meanwhile Murphy has his form in terrific shape at present having sent out four winners in the last ten days.


“He’s working nicely and we’ve been very happy with him since he won at Fairyhouse last month,” said the trainer’s son Joe. “We did consider the Killavullan Stakes for him but this race was always his target and it’s a very valuable pot so he will head to Naas. He’s going to have to give weight all round but we are pleased with how he is going and hopefully he will line up with a decent chance on Sunday. The step up to seven furlongs should him well too.”


The Listed Clodovil Irish EBF Garnet Stakes features a number of quality fillies including this year’s Irish 1000 Guineas second Could It Be Loveand last year’s runner-up Making Light, who won the Group 3 Park Express at Naas on the opening day of the season. One of the most unexposed runners in the line-up is Patrick Prendergast’s Moteowho progressed from a debut success at Leopardstown in August to finish third to Ship Of Dreams in the Listed Navigation Stakes at Cork last week.


“She’s good ground filly and the going is yielding at the moment but the forecast is for a reasonably dry week so it was worth putting her in,” reported Prendergast. “She will have the option of the Cooley Stakes at Dundalk the following Friday but we will just see what the weather does. Cork was big step up from Leopardstown and we were delighted with her run. She definitely looks to have a future at this level and Ronan (Whelan) felt that she would have learnt a lot from Cork.”


The card concludes with the Listed Bungle Inthejungle Bluebell Stakes where Aidan O’Brien supplies the top rated runner in Curly. Her opponents could include Michael Halford’s Kalaxanawho will be bidding for a second success at this level following her victory in the Lenebane  Stakes at Roscommon during the summer. Since then the daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar has been placed twice at Group 3 level, most recently when finishing third to Mootasadir in the Diamond Stakes at Dundalk late last month.


Racing at Naas on Sunday is due to begin at 1.35pm with a novelty mascot race taking place in association with the League Of Ireland and Irish Cancer Society. The race has been arranged by author and avid football fan Brian Kennedy with eight League of Ireland mascots competing in a 300 metre race.


The mascot race will take place at 12.45pm and Naas country singer Sina Theil will perform live music throughout the day in the enclosure.


Admission tickets are €15 and include a €5 FREE bet, OAP admission is €9 including a Tea/Coffee voucher and Kids under the age of 18 accompanied by an adult go free. Visit naasracecourse.com to make a booking.


See full list of entries here – http://status.hri-ras.ie/entries/