KEVIN RYAN will carefully plot Brando’s big race targets after the sprinter won back-to-back renewals of Newmarket’s Abernant Stakes on his seasonal bow.
Named by Barnsley owner Angie Bailey after the movie legend Marlon Brando, the Ryan-trained runner was third in last summer’s July Cup before landing the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.
However, the horse’s form tailed off towards the end of last season and this success, under regular rider Tom Eaves, was welcomed by Ryan.
The Hambleton trainer said: “He was due to go to Dubai, but his last piece of work wasn’t where I wanted him to be, so the owners said don’t run him.
“The last 10 days he’s turned the corner and has really come to himself. I think we’ll have to space out his runs more this year. He ran so well in the July Cup last year and it comes so soon after Royal Ascot. Do I sacrifice one for the other? I’ll discuss it with the owners.”
Meanwhile, Masar produced a spectacular front-running display to land the Craven Stakes, Newmarket’s trial for next month’s 2000 Guineas for colts.
Hot-favourite Roaring Lion, runner-up in last year’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, was unable to mount a challenge to the William Buick-ridden and Charlie Appleby-trained winner who put down a marker for the Classics.
Unlike Roaring Lion whose Guineas participation hangs in the balance, Masar staked his claim for the Guineas 24 hours after stablemate Soliloquy won the Nell Gwyn Stakes for fillies and confirmed her credentials for the 1000 Guineas. “He felt great and he relaxed beautifully in front,” said winning jockey William Buick. “He handled the dip and undulations really well. It was a really good performance and an exciting one. He feels like the finished article now.”
And in-form Appleby added: “On what we’ve seen out there he’s going to be a big contender for the Guineas.
“He’s a live shot, no doubt about that.”