Sapphire second Go Athletico has Group One goals

Go Athletico has been handed Group One targets following his fine performance in the Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh.

The five-year-old raced 26 times in France, winning on six occasions, before being picked up by his new owners for €165,000 in the spring when he was switched to Ireland and trainer Adrian McGuinness.

The gelded son of Goken has made a fine start to life in the care of his new handler, scooping Listed honours at Cork on stable debut and following that up by finishing second to course specialist Art Power in the Curragh Group Two last Saturday.

Now connections are eyeing a further step up the sprinting ladder for the soft-ground loving speedster and are targeting either a possible Curragh rematch with Art Power in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes on September 10 or returning Go Athletico to France for a crack at the Prix de l’Abbaye on October 1.

“We got lucky and we happened to get him at the right time,” said Barry Irwin, CEO of Team Valor, who own the horse in partnership with Shamrock Thoroughbreds.

“It is amazing how a horse can have run as many times as him, be five years old yet all of a sudden he’s getting better. We’ve got lucky and he’s a cool horse, I’ve never had a horse like him. He’s a fun horse to watch.”

He went on: “This horse needs a bit of cut in the ground, we got it on Saturday and got lucky, and there is another race at the Curragh coming up in September, the Flying Five. We might have to take on the same horse that won on Saturday again and if the ground comes up soft, we will do it.

“If not, we might possibly take a look at the Prix de l’Abbaye on the day of the Arc.

“It’s only five furlongs and he’s better over six, but in a big field like that, with soft turf and the right draw, you can get lucky.”

Source link