Commonwealth Cup dream burning brightly for Team Lavery

Guineas runner-up primed for Royal Ascot assignment

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By Jon Lees

The offers for Lady Kaya come in continually – but no amount of money will part the Qipco 1000 Guineas runner-up from the Lavery family, who will travel to Royal Ascot with high hopes of writing a new chapter in her remarkable story.

Owner Joanne Lavery expects to put her pride and joy through an auction ring at the end of the year, but until then the flying filly – who came within a length of snatching Classic success at Newmarket – will continue to showcase the training talents of her aunt, Sheila Lavery.

Rather than a rematch on the Curragh with Hermosa, the Commonwealth Cup was nominated as Lady Kaya’s next target and despite dropping down in distance to six furlongs and taking on colts, the Laverys are confident of another strong showing.

“She didn’t quite see out the mile at Newmarket, she just ran out of petrol,” said Sheila Lavery. “A lot of experts told me that if she had any chance of getting a mile, it would be at Newmarket.

“For me then the Commonwealth Cup became very obvious. It’s a very stiff six at Ascot and after that race you are taking on older horses. I’d rather be taking this on than running over a stiff mile at Ascot.

“I wasn’t sorry when I saw Hermosa run in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and that I didn’t have Lady Kaya there. I think Hermosa is absolutely exceptional.”

Since taking out a licence in 2012 at the age of 52, County Meath-based Lavery has trained 56 winners.

She gained her first Pattern victory this year when Lady Kaya took the Group Three 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown under regular jockey Robbie Colgan.

Her only previous runner at the showpiece meeting, Mister Scarlet, finished fifth in the 2017 Commonwealth Cup.

“Lady Kaya is much more straightforward and far superior to Mister Scarlet,” said Lavery. “He reared and lost three lengths at the start so could have finished third or fourth behind Caravaggio. She is different gravy.”

The Laverys still have Lady Kaya because she failed to attract enough interest when led out unsold for €12,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland September yearling sale in 2017, where she had been presented by Joanne Lavery in her second year of pinhooking.

“I bought her as a foal to sell her as a yearling because that is what I want to do,” said Joanne Lavery, 26.

“She got a cut during the summer and had only had three weeks prep. She looked really backward and not really ready. She didn’t attract enough people to follow her into the ring.

“It’s been tricky not selling her since. There have been a good few offers come in, after nearly every race. But it’s amazing for Sheila to get this opportunity and I knew she was going to do the job that she has, so I was happy to keep her.

“She will more than likely be put in a sale somewhere at the end of the season. Then people will have the opportunity to race her or keep her as a broodmare.”

Of the Royal Ascot challenge, she added: “I think if she does her thing, which is jump and travel, she has every opportunity.

“The Guineas didn’t matter that we didn’t win. It was amazing to see her show her talent. If she can do that again I would be very happy.

“There are about 15 to 20 of us Laverys going over to Royal Ascot so it will be a real family affair.”

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