Caspian Prince heads back to Sapphire Stakes

Caspian Prince (right) won the Friarstown Stud Sapphire Stakes in 2017

Caspian Prince is set to cross the Irish Sea to run for the third successive year in the Friarstown Stud Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh.

The veteran sprinter lifted Sunday’s Group Two prize in 2017 and was second to Havana Grey 12 months ago.

The 10-year-old is being kept busy by trainer Mick Appleby, after being beaten just a length when fourth to Copper Knight in the City Walls Stakes at York on Saturday.

“He’s going over to the Curragh on Sunday for the Sapphire,” Appleby told Sky Sports Racing.

“He ran well the other day – he just hung across the track for some reason.

“He has done that in the past, so I don’t think York is really his track – whereas he likes the Curragh, so hopefully he’ll have a good run there on Sunday.”

Caspian Prince is among 16 horses still in contention for the five-furlong contest following Tuesday’s confirmation stage.

A strong British challenge also includes John Quinn’s El Astronaute, who is chasing a third successive victory in Ireland following June wins at Cork and in the Rockingham Stakes over this course and distance.

Quinn said: “El Astronaute is an intended runner on Sunday.

“He’s been a great servant this year and he’s in great form, so hopefully he’ll run a big race again.”

The Charlie Hills-trained pair of Equilateral and Garrus, Julie Camacho’s Judicial, Richard Fahey’s Mr Lupton, Michael Dods’ Intense Romance and Soldier’s Call from Archie Watson’s yard are the other potential British raiders, with the home team headed by Eddie Lynam’s hat-trick seeking filly Soffia.