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Twilight Jet rockets to Lacken Stakes victory

Twilight Jet made a winning reappearance when making every single yard in the Group Three Goffs Lacken Stakes at Naas.

Michael O’Callaghan’s Twilight Son colt finished down the field in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in his final start at the end of a busy juvenile campaign, but victory was never in doubt in this six-furlong event.

Sent off a 9-2 chance the three-year-old took an easy lead, with the hat-trick-seeking New York City and Ger Lyons’ Straight Answer tracking behind, but his pursuers had no answer once jockey Leigh Roche cranked up the engine and turned on the afterburners at the business end.

Twilight Jet and connections following victory in the Goffs Lacken Stakes
Twilight Jet and connections following victory in the Goffs Lacken Stakes (Gary Carson/PA)

He pulled three-lengths clear of the Aidan O’Brien-trained 6-5 favourite New York City, who in turn was almost the same distance clear of Saliteh who claimed third at 125-1. Betfair responded by slashing the winner into 14-1 from 40-1 for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

O’Callaghan confirmed he believes the horse has shown enough to justify targeting that Group One contest next and was relieved to see his Cornwallis Stakes winner back to his best.

He said: “It was impressive and a relief as well. He missed six weeks in the spring, we just swam him for six weeks, and if this was three weeks ago he wouldn’t have been ready.

“He’s just come right and that makes it all the more impressive to me, knowing how his prep went during the spring. He always looked like one that could improve with time, he’s a fine big horse. He has a bit of class and has a lot of natural speed.

Naas Races – Sunday May 15th
Michael O’Callaghan hopes Twilight Jet can prove to be a Group One performer this season (Donall Farmer/PA)

“He’s going to improve for the run today, I’ve no doubt Leigh is going to tell me that he had a blow. He took plenty of pulling up and galloped down to the third fence down the back before he got him pulled up.

“I think he has strengthened up enough this year to get six furlongs. In the Middle Park last year he showed his class but just didn’t see out the six furlongs. I think this year he looks strong enough to go to Royal Ascot for the Commonwealth Cup with a big chance.”

O’Callaghan is prepared to put a line through his disappointing showing at Del Mar at the end of 2021 and was delighted that the horse could get back on track in the colours of new owners, who had signed for a share in the horse prior to that trip across the Atlantic.

He continued: “The Cornwallis was his ninth run last year and he went to the Breeders Cup’ after that.

“Michael and Julia Iavarone, whose colours he runs in, used to own Big Brown who won the Kentucky Derby and they bought into 50 per cent of him to go to the Breeders’ Cup.

“I’m just delighted that he’s come out this year as a three-year-old and he’s furnished and he’s gone and done it.

“We always thought he was probably a Group One horse. He’s trained on now over the winter and proved that he justifies being classed as something that’s maybe a Group One horse this year.”

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