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  • Whistlejacket Secures Royal Ascot Ticket To Upholds Family Honour

Whistlejacket secures Royal Ascot ticket to upholds family honour

Aidan O’Brien’s Whistlejacket booked a trip to Royal Ascot when comfortably accounting for three previous winners in the Listed-class Gain First Flier Stakes at the Curragh.

The full-brother to champion two-year-old Little Big Bear had to settle for second best behind Joseph O’Brien’s Cowardofthecounty over six furlongs on his debut last month but went one better in fine fashion at the minimum trip.

Sent off at 5-6, Whistlejacket raced alongside main market rival Arizona Blaze at the head of affairs for much of it, but it became apparent at the two-furlong pole that Ryan Moore’s mount was travelling much better.

Once asked to kick on, Whistlejacket quickly settled the issue and galloped on strongly all the way through to the line to prevail by three and three-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.”

Paddy Power responded by cutting Whistlejacket from 12-1 to 7-1 for the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting, a race which O’Brien won for a record 10th time via River Tiber last year.

Jessica Harrington’s Barnavara could also be bound for Berkshire after making an impressive debut in the Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden over six furlongs.

Shane Foley seized pole position on the rails early on and the Calyx filly fought off the attentions of Kilmood Susan before powering clear to score 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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