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Celtic Chieftain puts his name into the Ascot mix for O’Brien

Celtic Chieftain puts his name into the Ascot mix for O’Brien
Celtic Chieftain puts his name into the Ascot mix for O’Brien

Celtic Chieftain could enter Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Ascot calculations after a debut victory in the Lynn Lodge Stud Irish EBF Maiden at Navan.

Once-raced stablemate Alfred Tennyson was the pick for Ryan Moore and he was sent off at 7-4, with Wayne Lordan taking the reins aboard newcomer Celtic Chieftain at odds of 8-1.

The No Nay Never colt travelled well, making smooth progress before grabbing the lead and fending off 11-8 favourite Red Evolution by a neck.

Stable representative Chris Armstrong said: “He’s a smart colt, he’s a typical No Nay Never with loads of natural speed.

“Wayne was very happy with him. He had been coming along nicely in the last few weeks at home, at this time of year you just have to get them out and see exactly where they fit in.

“Wayne thought he was still very green but once he grabbed a hold of him, he really stretched to the line and there is plenty of improvement in him. He has a good change of gear.

“We’ll see over the next week how he pulls up and comes through it, but he could be in the Ascot mix as well, for something like the Windsor Castle.

“He’s not short of boot and he’ll come on plenty mentally.”

Following the victory of Everlasting in the Listed Kooyonga Stakes, Old Faithful (9-4 favourite) made it a Ballydoyle treble in the TRI Equestrian Handicap.

The Moore-ridden Old Faithful had beaten the reopposing Gibbs Island into second last time out and confirmed that form, with that rival edged into a narrow third by Going Remote.

Armstrong said: “He’s a horse that’s educating himself from race to race and we’re just bringing him along slowly.

“He’s a real strong traveller and Ryan gave him a lovely ride just to ease him into it.

“Once he puts everything together there is a really good pot in him. We’ll see how he is in the handicap now and possibly look at the Britannia in Ascot or the mile-and-a-quarter handicap (Golden Gates Stakes).

“He’s got no problem with the trip over a mile or a mile and a quarter.”

Thunderbear ended a barren spell with a length-and-a-quarter victory in the Navan Racecourse Handicap.

Jack Davison’s runner last struck gold in a Newbury Group Three back in September, with five subsequent runs in a mix of Listed and handicap company yielding no joy, but he regained his sparkle in slightly easier company.

“He’s a legend, he’s been great for us and won a Group Three in England last year for us,” said Davison.

“He’s actually developing into a nice sprinter as he gets older. He had been a bit disappointing this season, so it was nice to get him back into calmer waters and get the win. Hopefully we can build from here.

“It was all about getting a win this season and we’ll use that as a springboard. I doubt if we’d look at a handicap in Ascot as he’d have a lot of weight. We’ll pick his shots for the rest of the season.”

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