Dods favouring Curragh contest for Commanche Falls

Michael Dods’ Commanche Falls could be set for a Curragh return after his tough success in the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.

The six-year-old is enjoying a fine season and was third in the Duke of York before winning the Listed Dash Stakes at the Irish track in early July.

That run set him up for a Group Three outing in the Hackwood at the weekend, though wet weather left the ground softer than ideal as he left the stalls the 4-1 favourite.

The gelding did not look to be enjoying conditions early on under Connor Beasley, but as the race reached the final furlong, he edged through a gap to lunge over the line in a group finish.

Commanche Falls had prevailed by a head from Clive Cox’s Diligent Harry and could now head back to the Curragh as he holds an entry for the Rathasker Stud Phoenix Sprint Stakes in August.

“He’s been out in the paddock every day since, he’s eaten up and he looks good,” Dods said.

“The ground really wasn’t to his liking as you could see, he looked beaten at halfway but Connor switched him and asked him a few questions and he showed a lot of guts and bravery to go through the gap and put the race to bed.

“There didn’t look to be a lot of a gap but he dug very deep, he showed his guts to get through it and win.

“He’s been unbelievable to be honest, he keeps surprising us. He never does anything the easy way because he’s usually the first horse off the bridle.

“He looks beaten and then he digs deep, once he gets into gear he motors to the line.”

Of the Curragh trip, which would be dependent on suitable ground, Dods added: “That is the plan, all things being well. I don’t think I would travel over there if it was very soft ground, we’d have to have a rethink.

“All things being well and on decent enough ground, the plan is to go there in August.”

Dods also has another classy sprinter in Azure Blue, who beat Commanche Falls and Highfield Princess to land the Group Two Duke of York on the Knavesmire in May.

The grey then headed for the July Cup at Newmarket but came home sixth under Paul Mulrennan having pulled hard in the early stages.

A York comeback could be on the cards now as the filly holds an entry for the Group One Nunthorpe over five furlongs in late August.

“We’ve given her an easy week, I thought she ran a bit free at Newmarket. Whether it was the sticky ground or what, but she seems well,” said Dods.

“She’s been out in the paddock and we’ll probably start her off this week again cantering and build her up to go again.

“I’ve got to discuss with the owners, she’s got quite a few entries, so we’ll have to decide where to go but she’s in good fettle anyway.

Of the Nunthorpe entry, the trainer said: “It’s definitely in the picture, she’s got other entries as well but I’d like to think she could end up going there.”

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