Caravaggio is the star on show at Naas today and there should be plenty of clues for Royal Ascot next month. Tony Keenan has previewed the card and has found three horses to back...
"Simmy's Copshop did well to win on debut given he came from behind off a slow pace, posting a decent closing sectional, and that form looks strong, the second in particular seeming very well regarded; that one was heavily backed on the day and has since been a wide-margin winner."
Naas held a Royal Ascot trials card back on May 1st but there's a distinct possibility today's card will tell more about next month's meeting, the races fitting in well for a trainer planning on running a horse in little over three weeks' time. For betting purposes, it is the listed and group races that are of interest this afternoon.
Naas 14:40 - Lyons can be rewarded for listed race Endeavour
This might be the race with least relevance to Royal Ascot though the favourite Whitecliffsofdover could be one for the Jersey Stakes should he win here. Official ratings him well clear but he had the run of the Free Handicap last time and the form isn't working out for all that it was a good seasonal return; he would prefer the ground to dry out too. It wouldn't be the greatest surprise to see him beaten but the place market could the one to play in with Reckless Endeavour looking overpriced.
His first run of the season was a good one over this course, likely finding the mile just too much of a test, and cutting back in distance will suit. The only blip in a his three-year-old campaign came when racing on the worst of the ground at Leopardstown over Irish Champions Weekend and he was a shade unlucky not to win his final start at Dundalk when forced to challenge wide away from the main action. A narrow defeat at Galway - when he was the only three-year-old in a field of older handicappers - was just about his best effort and his consistency can be rewarded with black type here.
Naas 15:15 - Simmy's Copshop to continue good run for Fahey
Surprisingly for a two-year-old race over five furlongs, none of these have done much on the clock thus far with the pair of O'Brien horses, Dali and True Blue Moon, particularly underwhelming in that regard. Simmy's Copshop might not be much better on time but he has plenty of other things in his favour.
He did well to win on debut given he came from behind off a slow pace, posting a decent closing sectional, and that form looks strong, the second in particular seeming very well regarded; that one was heavily backed on the day and has since been a wide-margin winner. Furthermore, Simmy's Copshop is Richard Fahey's sole entry in the Phoenix Stakes - entries released just this week - suggesting and longer term Irish campaign may be in mind.
Naas 16:15 - Improver Gorane to rattle Caravaggio
Caravaggio is currently trading around 4.57/2 for the Commonwealth Cup but there is the potential to bomb with him; he was an early two-year-old last year, having four runs by early-August, and is returning from an injury carrying a penalty. Aidan O'Brien has been quite positive in the run-up to this race but it would be a surprise if he has gone for everything with him when the main target is in three weeks.
Khukri put up an improved effort at Navan and seems to obvious alternative but the second Gorane might be able to reverse form now. He travelled much better than Khukri through that race and could have been in front too soon while he also has more scope to improve; he only made his debut in last October when he had two quick runs. Beating the favourite is an ask but even so he is worth a small win bet backed up by a bigger place bet.
1 Point Place Back Reckless Endeavour @ 3.185/40 or bigger in the Naas 14:40
1 Point Back Simmy's Copshop @ 4.77/2 or bigger in the Naas 15:15
0.5 Point Back Gorane @ 18.017/1 or bigger in the Naas 16:15
1 Point Back Gorane @ 3.55/2 or bigger in the Naas 16:15
2017 P+L: +3.25 points