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    Upholding family honour, Whistlejacket obtains a Royal Ascot ticket
Upholding family honour, Whistlejacket obtains a Royal Ascot ticket
Whistlejacket. Source: planetsport.com

Upholding family honour, Whistlejacket obtains a Royal Ascot ticket

In the Listed-class Gain First Flier Stakes at the Curragh, Aidan O'Brien's Whistlejacket easily defeated three previous winners, earning a trip to Royal Ascot.

On his debut last month, the full-brother of the champion two-year-old Little Big Bear had to settle for second place behind Joseph O'Brien's Cowardofthecounty over six furlongs, but he excelled at the minimum distance.

Whistlejacket was sent off at 5-6 and spent most of the race leading the main market rival Arizona Blaze. However, at the two-furlong mark, it became clear that Ryan Moore's horse was moving much more smoothly.

Whistlejacket was asked to kick on, and he promptly resolved the matter by galloping strongly all the way to the line, winning by three and a quarter lengths.

O’Brien said: “He’s a fast horse, he’s progressing nicely. I’d say five or six (furlongs) will be no problem, he has plenty of speed for five anyway. The last day it was six, but he’s not short of speed. I don’t think he will (run again before Ascot), he’s had two runs. You never know, but I don’t think so.”

In response, Paddy Power lowered Whistlejacket's odds from 12-1 to 7-1 for the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting, a race that O'Brien won via River Tiber last year for a record-tying tenth time.

Barnavara, owned by Jessica Harrington, may also be headed for Berkshire following an outstanding debut over six furlongs in the Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden.

Early on, Shane Foley grabbed pole position on the rails, and the Calyx filly resisted Kilmood Susan's advances before powering clear to win by four lengths at 5-1.

Harrington said: “She was up here the other morning on the Curragh on softish ground, the first time we had her on grass, and we were delighted with her. Shane said she was grand over six furlongs and she would probably like better ground. She might have another run and then go to Ascot for the Albany. We’ll see how she comes out of that but she won very easily.”

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