O'Callaghan aims for historic Dick Poole win with progressive filly Usra
County Kildare trainer Michael O’Callaghan seeks to break new ground by becoming the first Irish trainer to win Salisbury's Group 3 Shadwell Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes (4.20) when he saddles Usra.
O’Callaghan runs new recruit Usra, a promising third in the Listed Coolmore Pride of Dubai Tipperary Stakes behind Qatar Richmond Stakes winner Land Force in July, in the £46,500 nine-runner contest named in honour of the former trainer.
Usra, owned by Robert Moran, was formerly trained by Ken Condon and will be partnered by Leigh Roche. O’Callaghan said: “It was a little tricky getting her over there logistically, but I’ve been told it’s a nice track and I’m looking forward to going over.
“Her form in Ireland is quite good and she looked to be only staying on when third last time, so the step up to six furlongs should suit her.
“I’ve been happy with her homework and the good to firm ground will be perfect.”
Firelight, a recent close fourth behind Fairyland in the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther at York, is the one to beat on official ratings.
Trainer Andrew Balding said: “She ran really well in the Lowther and that form gives her every chance. She’s a versatile filly and good to firm ground will be fine for her.”
St Hugh’s Stakes third Come On Leicester, trained by Richard Hannon, and Ralph Beckett’s Scintillating, who sports a tongue-tie for the first time after a below-par effort in the Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes, are among other leading contenders.
Shoemark returns with two rides
Kieran Shoemark returns to the saddle with two rides at Salisbury after more than two months on the sidelines.
He broke six ribs and punctured a lung when his mount Cutthechat had a fatal fall in a juvenile contest at Lingfield on June 30.
The rider enjoyed a Royal Ascot success aboard Atty Persse in the King George V Stakes last year and partners two Roger Charlton-trained newcomers – Young Merlin (2.20) and Cambric (3.50) – on his return to action.
A well-bred debutant to watch
Karl Burke heads to Haydock with high expectations for debutant Kadar, a son of Scat Daddy bought for €700,000 at the Arqana May Breeze Ups.
The two-year-old is owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds and shares the same sire as 2018 Kings’s Stand winner Lady Aurelia and Aidan O’Brien’s US campaigner Mendelssohn.
“He’s a beautiful animal,” said Burke. “He’s come with a bit of a reputation and hasn’t disappointed us. I don’t want to talk too loudly too soon until we have that debut under our belt, but I’d be very disappointed if he’s not a black-type horse."
The trainer is brimming with confidence ahead of Kadar's debut in the mile novice stakes (3.10), and added: “I know there are one or two nice horses in there, but they’ll have to be nice to beat him!”
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