Naas victory sets up Royal run for Aesop’s Fables

King Charles III Stakes aim for smart Sprint winner.

The King Charles III Stakes at Royal Ascot is next on the agenda for Aesop’s Fables after he bounced back back to form at Naas on Sunday.

Aidan O’Brien’s speedster was placed twice at Group One level last season, finishing third in both the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.

Ryan Moore’s mount failed to fire on his first start of the year in the Woodlands Stakes at this venue three weeks ago, but raised his game to claim the Listed Sole Power Sprint Stakes by a neck from Twilight Jet, with 150-1 shot So Majestic just a neck further behind in third.

“He came really good last year and was only just beaten in an Abbaye and a Breeders’ Cup Sprint,” said O’Brien.

“He usually takes a few runs to get right. We ran him the last day in blinkers on soft ground and he ran very keen and just didn’t finish out, so we left them off him today.

“We’re delighted with him. The ground is beautiful here and he’s a big, powerful, fast horse. He’s hardy and a real sprinter. We are thinking of the five-furlong race at Ascot.”

Treasure Isle is also likely to be on O’Brien’s Royal Ascot squad after putting his experience to good use to provide the trainer with a third successive victory in the Coolmore Stud Calyx Race.

Treasure Isle and jockey Ryan Moore after winning at Naas
Treasure Isle and jockey Ryan Moore after winning at Naas (Damien Eagers/PA)

Second on his debut at the Curragh four weeks ago, the No Nay Never colt was an 8-13 favourite to go one better and follow in the hoofprints of the previous two winners, The Antarctic and River Tiber.

Sent straight to the lead by Moore, Treasure Isle was given a thorough test by Jessica Harrington’s newcomer Saratoga Special once challenged, but dug deep to see her off by half a length.

“Ryan said he was very green and was surprised how green he was as he was swapping and changing his legs and looking. He felt that he had plenty still to learn but has a lot of speed,” said O’Brien.

“We thought he was going to be one for Royal Ascot and hopefully he knows enough. He certainly has the speed for it. We’ll see how he takes the run and how much he comes on from it.

“River Tiber won this last year and went on to win the Coventry, but this horse will be very happy staying at five furlongs.”

The Ger Lyons-trained Mutasarref claimed top honours in the Owenstown Stud Stakes under a confident ride from champion jockey Colin Keane.

The well-backed 13-8 shot looked all dressed up with nowhere to go when pinned against the rail, but Keane did not panic and once the daylight came, his mount was well able to reel in the leaders and score by three-quarters of a length without being asked for maximum effort.

Lyons said: “The more trouble he gets into in a race, the more he seems to like it. He came back from an injury and as Colin said he’s back to himself.

“That’s his grade and seven furlongs. A mile is just a tad beyond him.”

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