GBI RACING

Pistoletto overcomes stalls bumps to remain Royal Ascot-bound

Pistoletto joined O'Brien's Ascot team

Pistoletto overcame some superficial injuries to land short odds and book his place at Royal Ascot in the Coolmore Gustav Klimt Race at Naas.

Aidan O’Brien’s War Front colt was expected to tee himself up for a journey to England, facing just three rivals, and was sent off the 1-5 favourite under Ryan Moore.

Pistoletto did, though, become unsettled at the start, losing two shoes, and it later became apparent he had bitten his tongue – causing it to bleed.

All that may have affected his performance – but he was pushed all the way by Red Epaulette and Wyndham Belle, winning by half a length.

“He banged his hip going into the stalls and then got upset and kicked off both his back shoes,” said O’Brien.

“There are plenty of marks on his back legs, so he did well really. It wasn’t a good experience for him.

“All being well, he will go to Ascot, and (either) five or six (furlongs) wouldn’t be a problem. He laboured today, and we thought he’d win easier, but there are plenty of reasons for it.”

Ger Lyons and Colin Keane continued their good recent run of form when Kaftan reeled in Dermot Weld’s Kiss For A Jewel close home in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

A promising fourth on her only outing last season, the favourite got first run – but Kaftan (4-1) quickened nicely and looks another nice prospect for owner Khalid Abdullah.

“The fillies have been very slow coming to hand,” said Lyons.

“They have not been showing anything, but there is no prize money at home.

“They are all ready to start, just like she is, and there is plenty of improvement in her. She looks a 10-furlong filly, going forward.

“Her first run is Group Three form, and I know Dermot likes his filly, so you would like to think she’s a black-type filly in the making.

“I don’t think she’s mature enough for Ascot, so we’ll stay at home and let her come along slowly.

“It’s nice to see that, because there are a bunch of fillies ready to start that aren’t setting the place on fire at home.”

The consistent Surrounding (5-1) landed the Owenstown Stud Stakes for Mick Halford and Ronan Whelan, and a step up in grade is now on the cards.

“She’s so dependable and so honest and always runs her race,” said Halford.

“We might have been a bit lucky, because we had her in at Gowran but she came in season, and if she went to Gowran she probably wouldn’t have been here. It worked out well for her.

“They went a good gallop. It opened up well and it’s nice to get another Listed win with her.

“She’s earned a crack at a Group Three race at some stage. She’s so honest when things fall right for her. She loves that ground, and we’ll keep going.”

O’Brien, who went on to take both Group Three races – with Etoile and So Perfect, respectively in the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies’ Sprint Stakes and then the Goffs Lacken Stakes – completed a four-timer when Moore and 100-30 shot Ferretti took the Royal Ascot Trials At Naas Handicap by a length.

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