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Can Caravaggio dominate this year’s sprint division?

15 May 2017

We compare the unbeaten colt with previous champion sprinters trained by Aidan O'Brien

Caravaggio digest

Caravaggio pictured during a workout at Naas in March. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Aidan O’Brien has trained many champions but few of them have been in the sprinting division.

Perhaps his best speedsters have been Stravinsky, winner of the July Cup and Nunthorpe in 1999; Mozart, who won the same races in 2001; and Starspangledbanner, an Australian import who won the Golden Jubilee Stakes (now Diamond Jubilee Stakes) and July Cup in 2010.

That trio all dropped back in trip to show sprinting was their forte but O’Brien has identified that Caravaggio is all about speed and resisted running him in either the QIPCO 2000 Guineas or French equivalent this term.

The Scat Daddy colt looked a star in the making as a two-year-old, winning twice over 5f before landing the Coventry Stakes in excellent style at Royal Ascot. He then easily won the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Caravaggio is scheduled to make his reappearance at Naas this weekend and, if all goes well there, he could run in a string of QIPCO British Champions Series contests, starting with the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

His connections will be hoping he can emulate another three-year-old, Muhaarar, who dominated the sprinting ranks in 2015. He won four Group One races in succession – the Commonwealth Cup, July Cup, Larc Prix Maurice de Gheest and QIPCO British Champions Sprint – before being retired.

There are many fine sprinters about, including Limato, Quiet Reflection and The Tin Man, and it will be fascinating to see how Caravaggio compares to them.