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Keatley excited to be heading to Ascot with Francisco’s Piece

Keatley excited to be heading to Ascot with Francisco’s Piece
Keatley excited to be heading to Ascot with Francisco’s Piece

Adrian Keatley’s Francisco’s Piece will head to the Norfolk Stakes via the Goffs London Sale on the eve of the Royal meeting.

The two-year-old has done little wrong in his career so far, winning on debut at Pontefract and then going down by just a short head when giving weight to the winner in a York novice last month.

He headed across to Chantilly for his next assignment, contesting the five-furlong Prix la Fleche at Listed level on the same card as the Prix du Jockey Club.

There was a comfortable winner, taking the race by two and a half lengths under James Doyle to book his ticket to Royal Ascot in a fortnight.

He will target the Norfolk Stakes, a five-furlong Group Two for juveniles, but prior to the fixture he will go under the hammer at the Goffs London Sale on the evening of June 17.

The event is held in Kensington Palace Gardens and offers a small selection of horses for sale, often with Royal Ascot entries such as last year’s top lot, £1.1million purchase Givemethebeatboys.

“He came home in great nick from France, we were delighted with his performance and he did it in a great time,” said Keatley.

“He is extremely unlucky that he doesn’t have three wins to his name, he lost virtually no weight and we’re really looking forward to the Norfolk with him.

“I think he’ll be a big player, he’ll get an entry in a couple of different races but the Norfolk will be where he goes and he’ll be in the London Sale prior to Ascot.

“We’re very excited, we’re really looking forward to going to Ascot with a live chance.”

Shadow Army, who narrowly defeated Francisco’s Piece at York, has since been purchased by Wathnan Racing and will take aim at the Coventry now his form has been boosted by the Chantilly run.

“The horse that he gave 5lb to at York, they think an awful lot of him and they’re touting him as a Coventry horse,” Keatley said.

“We gave him 5lb and our horse was very unlucky to be beaten, he’s given away weight to all his rivals in all his runs so he’s doing everything right.

“He’s a beautiful, big, strong horse so we’re really looking forward to Ascot with him.”

Wathnan Racing also own Ballymount Boy, who Keatley trains and who enjoyed a successful two-year-old year when second in the Richmond and the Acomb and then the winner of the Prospect Stakes.

The colt made his seasonal debut in the Greenham but was well beaten there, with a setback now stalling his season slightly.

Keatley said: “He had a little hold-up in the month gone so he’s not going to be going to Ascot, he’ll probably be out next in a Group Three at the end of the month in Newcastle, that’s his target, with a view then to go to Goodwood.”

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