/ Racing

Diamond sparkling ahead of return at Navan

Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2014 13:27 | Comments

Royal Diamond (red and white cap) will run in Navan on Sunday
Royal Diamond (red and white cap) will run in Navan on Sunday

Royal Diamond is reported in "great form" ahead of his seasonal debut in the Coolmore Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan on Sunday.

The eight-year-old son of King's Best provided his trainer Johnny Murtagh with his biggest success last season when winning the valuable Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot in October.

He also claimed a Group Three prize at the Curragh in August, along with a Listed event at Leopardstown in July.

Murtagh said: "He is in great form, he is fit and well and we are looking forwarding to seeing him run on Sunday."

Dermot Weld has made a blistering start to the 2014 Flat season and is represented by Pale Mimosa.

This five-year-old daughter of Singspiel won Listed contests at York and Leopardstown last year, while she finished a close-up fourth to Royal Diamond at Ascot.

Weld said of his Dr. Ronan Lambe-owned bay: "She has wintered well, and she is coming along nicely. She is having her first run of the season at Navan and I expect her to come on for it."

Saddler's Rock finished ahead of Royal Diamond in the St Leger at the Curragh in September, but he was then beaten into fifth by Murtagh's charge at Ascot in October.

The six-year-old failed to make an impact on two starts at Meydan over the winter and trainer John Oxx is hoping the rain stays away from Navan before his latest assignment.

He said: "He needs good ground, so rain won't suit and I think it is forecast for Saturday night. We are hoping he will run a good race and it should be a good prep race for the Ascot Gold Cup."

Sir Ector enjoyed a fruitful campaign last year, winning both the Ulster Derby and the Movember Handicap, while he was just three and three-parts of a length off Royal Diamond in a Listed race at Leopardstown last July.

He ran a fine race on his last start to finish a close-up fourth in the Martin Molony Stakes at Limerick, on what was his second outing of 2014.

He is stepped back up to a mile and six here and trainer James Lambe said: "He is in good form, the trip should suit, the ground should suit and hopefully he will run a nice race."

Aidan O'Brien's Leading Light, who won the St Leger at Doncaster in September, never landed a blow in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp but can be expected to make his presence felt now on his first start of the season.

The Willie McCreery-trained nine-time winner Leah Claire, and the twice-raced Cosmic Cannonball for Jim Bolger, complete the field.

O'Brien also appears to have strong claims in the Pour Moi EBF Maiden with Table Rock, despite a slightly disappointing reverse when favourite at Limerick last month.

That run might have got rid of any ring-rustiness and his debut second behind Ebanoran looks good form now.

Photo Call is a danger, and her trainer David Wachman also has prospects in the Excelebration Maiden with Resiliency, who was a promising second on debut at Dundalk and is less exposed than main rival John Constable.

Dermot Weld has been firing in the winners and Araner gives him strong claims in the Requinto EBF Maiden, having got the hang of things too late in the day when third at Cork on his debut.

Weld also has prospects in the opening Come Racing On June 14th Maiden at 2.05 with Sailors Swan, who caught the eye when fourth behind Ebanoran and Table Rock at the Curragh on his sole outing last October.

The Rosewell handler might not be finished there as Sereza impressed when winning a Gowran Park maiden and is an intriguing recruit to the handicap ranks in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies' Handicap.

The Navan Family Day Handicap is not easy to solve but Pixie Spirit has returned in good heart and shouldn't be too far away, while Masai has to be of interest for the Ballydoyle team in the navanracecourse.ie Handicap, having not enjoyed the clearest of passages when fourth on his handicap bow at Naas.

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