Curragh Quest for Ocean ahead of Ascot aim

Jessica Harrington is eyeing a second straight Group Three prize with Ocean Quest in the Westgrove Hotel Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday before plotting a return to Ascot.

The three-year-old filly heads into the Westgrove Hotel Renaissance Stakes on the back of an impressive strike in the Ballyogan Stakes at Naas.

Before that, Ocean Quest had performed with great credit at big odds when finishing fourth to Shaquille in the Commonwealth Cup.

Another tilt at Ascot Group One glory in next month’s Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes is on the agenda if all goes well this weekend.

“We were really pleased with her last time out at Naas and everything has gone well with her since then,” said Harrington.

“She’s in great form and we’re looking forward to running her. This was always the plan to use as the next stepping stone before going to Ascot on British Champions Day.

“It’s already been a great season for her and the good news is that she stays in training next year.

“She’s gone well on all types of ground this year. I was quite surprised that she did so well on fast ground at Ascot in the summer, but conditions should be perfect on Sunday.”

It was good to firm when Ocean Quest was in contention two furlongs out at the Royal meeting.

However, the daughter of Sioux Nation also handled heavy ground when romping home by six lengths in a Navan Listed race back in April, when the reopposing Aesop’s Fables was runner-up.

French import Go Athletico has proved another shrewd purchase for Ado McGuinness since being snapped up after a Listed win at Deauville in April.

He scored at a similar level at Cork in June before twice finishing second in Group-class company.

The son of former high-class sprinter Goken, who had his last run in the 2016 renewal of this race, chased home Art Power in the Sapphire Stakes here.

He was then runner-up to Moss Tucker when returning to the Curragh for the Phoenix Sprint.

Big Gossey earned this step up in class by seeing off 21 rivals in the valuable Bold Lad Sprint Handicap over course and distance for Charles O’Brien.

Michael O’Callaghan’s Twilight Jet was also a winner last time out in a Tipperary Listed event, but Shartash is still trying to recapture the sparkle of a smart juvenile campaign which brought course and distance success in the Railway Stakes.

Clever And Cool, a winner at Naas, Cork and Tipperary this term, drops down in class and distance after taking on Tahiyra in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.

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