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Naas winners Stubbs and Sandiva being lined up for Ascot

Updated: Tuesday, 04 Jun 2013 08:45 | Comments

Royal Ascot is next for Naas winners Stubbs and Sandiva
Royal Ascot is next for Naas winners Stubbs and Sandiva

Stubbs and Sandiva booked their places on the Royal Ascot bandwagon with mightily impressive displays in their respective races at Naas on Monday.

Sandiva, trained by Richard Fahey, had caught the eye on her Nottingham debut when successful by six lengths and was sent off the 7-4 favourite for the Coolmore Stud EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes.

The winner of the race last year, Richard Hannon's Sly Lantern, certainly has not turned out too badly as she landed the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last month.

Pat Smullen was on board Sandiva and pulled two lengths clear of Jim Bolger's Heart Focus.

The Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot now looks the logical target.

"She's always worked very well at home and it's just nice to see her go and do it on the track," said Fahey.

"She was green on her debut but I often find the better ones usually are as they do everything so easily at home.

"I'll speak to the lads (Middleham Park Racing, owners) but the Albany would look the next logical race.

"She's got a huge stride for a filly and she's certainly one of our better fillies at home."

Smullen also won on Connacht Council (5-1) later on the card.

Aidan O'Brien's Stubbs, a son of an Irish Oaks winner in Moonstone, is showing surprising speed early in his career and set himself up for a possible crack at the Coventry Stakes when victorious in the Alfred Nobel Rochestown Stakes.

Won by Dawn Approach 12 months ago, the Listed race only attracted a field of four but it was by no means a straightforward task with Hannon's Sacha Park and the Bolger-trained Club Wexford having already shown reasonable form.

Ballydoyle's inmate, sent off the 8-13 favourite, still looked in a different league to his rivals and cruised to victory without Joseph O'Brien needing to get too serious.

O'Brien jnr said: "It was a mess of a race and they only hacked for a furlong. He did well to come from last to first.

"He'll have to go to Royal Ascot now, look at what the winner of this race last year did."

The O'Briens earlier teamed up with Reply (2-1 favourite), a ready winner of the Listed Owenstown Stud Stakes.

Second to Hitchens in the Greenlands Stakes last time out, he fulfilled that promise by sprinting clear approaching the one-furlong marker.

Reply had finished third in the Irish 2000 Guineas last season but had been without a win since he struck in a sales race at Doncaster as a juvenile.

Joseph O'Brien said: "He is improving with racing and quick ground is the key to him.

"Trip-wise, six furlongs to a mile is ideal for him."

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