Classic calling Catholic Boy

Fresh from one of his best-ever weekends, More Than Ready is poised to sire another Group 1 winner with Catholic Boy in Saturday’s Belmont Derby Invitational (2000m) in New York.

Catholic Boy handed Analyze It his first loss in the Pennine Ridge Stakes Gr.3 on June 2 and has been kept up to the mark at Saratoga working a half-mile in 49.39s last Saturday.  “More than anything, I wanted to see him moving well, happy, and comfortable,” trainer Jonathan Thomas said.  “He finished up nicely and galloped out well.”

More Than Ready sired his 22nd Group 1 winner when Funtastic landed the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park last Saturday and the $1.20 million Belmont Derby will match the local colts against Coolmore Stud’s last-start Royal Ascot winner Hunting Horn.

“It’s the marquee race for 3yo colts on the turf,” Thomas added.  “I can’t imagine a race carrying any more clout for that division and I’m happy to have a horse who should be competitive in it.”

Jockey Javiar Castellano praised Catholic Boy after he overcome a bad check to defeat Analyze It last time out.  “He likes to fight and he can handle a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m).  He doesn’t have to be on the lead.  I give all the credit to Mr. Thomas.  He told me how to ride the horse and it worked out great.”

Catholic Boy (3c More Than Ready – Song of Bernadette by Bernardini) won the With Anticipation Stakes Gr.3 at Saratoga last August and signed off as a two year-old with a powerful four-length victory in the Remsen Stakes Gr.2 at Aqueduct in December.

More Than Ready’s Perth-based 3yo State Prosecutor is gunning for a running double in the Aquanita Stakes LR on Saturday.  The Bob Peters homebred flew home at the end of 1600m in the Belmont Guineas LR a fortnight ago and, like Catholic Boy, will have no trouble handling 2000m.

All Too Hard dashed through 100 wins for the season last Saturday and he can grab a Group 1 first in South Africa’s Garden Province Stakes (1600m) this Saturday.

Vinery’s young gun is represented by Roy’s Riviera during the world-famous Durban July card at Greyville.  She will be taking on older mares and top-class filly Snowdance who was installed an odds-on favourite in pre-post markets.

Roy’s Riviera has been set for the Garden Province by trainer Frank Robinson since a four-length victory at Greyville in December.  She is a half-sister to Strutt Stakes-LR winner Sebring Sally and is raced by leading South African owner Roy Moodley.