Naas Racecourse to begin massive week of racing with competitive renewal of Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Woodlands Stakes
Monday will begin a massive week of racing in County Kildare as Naas host a strong seven-race Flat card on the eve of the Punchestown Festival.
The Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Woodlands Stakes is the feature race on the card and has attracted 11 entries, headed by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Tenebrism who won nicely at Cork earlier this month.
O’Brien’s daughter of Caravaggio is one of three course and distance winners among the entries for Monday’s Listed race, while stable companion Aesop’s Fables has the champion trainer double-handed at this stage.
Joseph O’Brien has included Brostaigh who won the Sole Power Sprint Stakes at Naas last May before enjoying Group 2 glory.
The third course and distance winner among the entries is the Ado McGuinness-trained Hodd’s Girl who has catapulted through the ranks in the last year and was an admirable third when last seen at Newcastle on Good Friday.
McGuinness said: "I'd say there's a good chance she will run. It was a last-minute decision as the number of entries were small. We're chasing black type so more than likely she will go if the ground comes up any way right at all.
"She's done me no wrong so far and runs her heart out every time she runs. She ran a stormer in Newcastle. She was gonna go on a little bit of a break as I had another race in England in mind but when this came up, I said to the owners that we'd enter as she's as fit as a flea. They are local enough fellas, from Straffan, so they'll like to run there too.
"She won at Naas on her first run for me last August (off 57) and I wish I knew that day she was gonna go up to the heights she went up! She was 16/1, and a 100/1 on the night before. Not a hope did I think she would improve that much but it just goes to show you what can happen.
"We'll give her a little breeze in the morning and if we're happy with her, I'd say she'll go."
British representation is possible as the Charlie Hills-trained Equality is among the entries, while the Jessica Harrington-trained Hurricane Ivor might try to strike again after winning at the Curragh last weekend.
The Ken Condon-trained Moss Tucker is a five-time winner who is an intended runner for the popular Curragh-based trainer. Moss Tucker had another of Monday’s entries, Big Gossey, behind when signing off last season with a win at the Curragh and Condon is hoping he can build on his reappearance at Cork.
"If he's well, he'll be taking his chance,” Condon said today. “He was slightly disappointing in Cork but only very slightly. He's still not there in his coat and he's a horse that seems to take a couple of runs just to get up to the pitch of it but he's come out of that run very well. He had a blow and seemed to get tired in the last 100 yards.
"He finished off last year on a good note, having got better as he went on and I hope he'll keep improving. Unless it becomes apparent that he's not as good as he was and I don't see any reason yet to come to that conclusion, he will be highly tried right through the year and to end up in Paris again.”
Moss Tucker is owned by the enthusiastic Charlie Bit Me Syndicate which has some household names amongst its membership.
“He's a good, fun horse, very honest and tough and he's not ground dependent either which is nice. He has a penalty to give away but the aim is to run.
"The owners are getting great fun out of him. Donal Spring bred him and owns him and named him after his teammates from the '78 Munster team that beat the All Blacks, Moss Keane and Colm Tucker. The Munster lads from that team have their own WhatsApp group and Donal has them all included and involved and they're getting mighty craic out of it. It's a great way to keep in contact. A few of them were down in Mallow to watch him. And Donal says the enjoyment he's getting is better than any game he played in. That's what racing is all about."
The David Marnane-trained Lady Tilbury and Takashi Kodama’s recent Cork winner Pineapple Island complete a fascinating list of entries for the Anglesey Lodge-backed feature.
Anglesey Lodge is one of the most renowned equine hospital’s in Ireland since it was founded in 1976 by Ned Gowing. The Curragh-based hospital serves performance and pleasure horses offering a wide range of routine and highly specialised veterinary care and are proud sponsors of this Listed race.
There is also a strong list of three-year-olds entered for the Naas Racecourse Business Club Blackwater Handicap. The Jessica Harrington-trained Spirit Genie is the highest-rated of the 17 entries with Naas winner Betterdaysrcoming an intriguing inclusion for Andy Oliver.
Monday’s card also features the Best Of Luck To Our Neighbours Punchestown Ahead Of The 2023 Festival Handicap as a nod to Punchestown Racecourse ahead of their mammoth five-day Festival which begins on Tuesday. Racegoers who show their Punchestown Festival tickets on Monday will benefit from half price admission for the card at Naas with the first race due of at 5pm.