Ken Condon hopes Romanised can pull off a repeat Group One success in France next month after taking the Minstrel Stakes for the second season running at the Curragh.
Just as 12 months ago, Condon’s stable star will head from Saturday’s Group Two glory on home soil to seek a follow-up victory in the prestigious Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.
It will then be on to the Prix du Moulin, in which the 2018 Irish 2,000 Guineas winner was beaten a nose by Circus Maximus last term.
“We were delighted with him,” Condon said, as he reflected on the five-year-old’s Curragh victory, which was his seasonal reappearance.
“It was a stylish performance – and as comebacks go, it went very well.
“We’d done plenty with him at home, but there’s no substitute for a match – just like if you are a footballer or a hurler – and he has come on for a run in previous seasons, so I’m sure there’s improvement there.
“He had a nice blow half a furlong out, so it will bring him forward.”
Condon was optimistic in preparation for the weekend, but admits to some extent it was still a step into the unknown with any horse off the track for 10 months.
“What you can’t find out at home is whether the acceleration is still there, because it’s not something you go looking for at home,” he said.
“But Billy (Lee) said he gave him a great feel the whole way, and that customary turn of foot is still there.
“The Marois and the Moulin, just like last year, is what we’re looking at. Hopefully he’s in good shape going to the Marois. It will be a hot race again – it is every year, but to win it again would be lovely.”
It was a day to remember for Condon on Saturday, because he also landed the Railway Stakes with Laws Of Indices.
Only ninth on debut, the Power colt won narrowly next time out and caused a 66-1 surprise at the weekend.
Condon feels there were no excuses for the others and his youngster is improving markedly with racing, with the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes on August 9 set to be next.
“To be fair, you’d have to say he took a big step forward – there’d be no point staying otherwise,” said Condon.
“The juvenile races all close early and we put him in them, though – it wasn’t an afterthought. He’s always had something about him, but it was a big leap from his first to his second and second to third runs.
“They all had a go at him, spread right across the track. But it seemed a fair result, and he seems a very nice horse – you’d have to be delighted.
“In the next few days we’ll have a chat to connections, but normally a horse who wins or runs well in the Railway goes for the Phoenix – it’s the same course and distance and it’s three weeks away.
“We won’t look to go overseas yet, and I think that would be his most likely race, but it’s not certain yet.”
Condon’s former Andre Fabre inmate Trais Flours has Leopardstown in his sights.
He said: “We’re thinking of going for the Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown with Trais Flours, going back to a mile.
“We were happy with him the other day (fourth to Patrick Sarsfield).
“He ran a solid race – and with quicker ground and a cleaner race, we might see a little more for him. His last two runs have been steps in the right direction.
“We think he might go for the Desmond and then the Boomerang on Champions Weekend.”