A field of six talented horses go to post for the second Group race of the afternoon at Naas on Sunday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Success Days took the scalp of Fascinating Rock over this distance at the Curragh in August which makes him interesting, but it’s all but impossible to get away from Aiden O’Brien’s US ARMY RANGER. He finished second in the 2016 Epsom Derby after showing huge amounts of promise beforehand and was far from disgraced when last seen in October when eight in the Champion Stakes at Ascot. That wasn’t perhaps the progression many had expected but he can resume his improvement this season with this a good starting point.
1 AIR PILOT – Usually a reliable commodity at Group level, winning a Group 3 at Chantilly in June (1m 2f, Soft) in comfortable fashion, though he was poor when last seen in August in the same company at York (1m, Good). Will be happier back at this trip and softer ground should see him in his best light, though he does look thoroughly exposed at this point compared to some. No surprise to see him follow the selection home but looks vulnerable in this.
2 STELLAR MASS – Smart performer who finished a good third in the Irish Derby behind Harzand back in June (1m 4f, Good to Yielding) and was far from disgraced in three runs since, winning at Leopardstown three starts ago in the Ballyroan Stakes (1m 4f, Good). Slightly question mark in terms of going back down in trip but the ground is a slight question mark, as he has predominately raced on better ground. Place claims if at peak fitness but he does have some question marks attached.
3 SUCCESS DAYS – Proven at Group level, with a career best at the Curragh on his penultimate start when taking the notable scalp of Fascinating Rock which was a very good performance. Prior to that, he’d run admirably all summer long, finishing third in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and a close second in the Mooresbridge Stakes at the same venue in May. Proven stayer at this distance and will enjoy the ground, so does rate as a solid option to complete the forecast in this for Shane Foley. He can go well fresh and does need careful consideration is this.
4 US ARMY RANGER – Galileo colt who has had six runs under rules for Aiden O’Brien, finishing a gallant second in the Epsom Derby on his third start last season, denied a clear one at any early stage down the straight (1m 4f, Good to Soft). Perhaps didn’t progress as many anticipated from that but still performed to a good level, finishing a close second in the Enterprise Stakes at Leopardstown in September before capping the year off when eighth in the Champion Stakes. He can continue his improvement this season and should take all the beating in this with Ryan Moore taking the ride.
5 LUSTROUS LIGHT – Rated 19lb inferior to US Army Ranger and looks to have it all to do on these terms, with even his best form nowhere near the required standard for this. He was way behind Stellar Mass when last seen in the Ballyroan Stakes, beaten around eleven lengths, though it isn’t inconceivable that he could improve sufficiently this season to fight out a place. Softer ground is an unknown and the percentage call is to avoid with all things considered.
6 SEA SWIFT – Four year old filly who looks booked for a struggle based on what she has shown thus far in her career, with her two wins both at maiden level against her own sex which doesn’t count for much in this sort of company. Granted, she won her second race in very good style, but she has failed to improve since and was unable to get her head in front at listed level on her latest start when third at Naas in October. Small place chance if returning at her best with the allowance taken into consideration.