Curragh success a boost for Casamento
Trainer Michael Halford produced the supplemented Casamento in excellent shape to land the odds with plenty to spare under Pat Smullen in yesterday's Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh for the most significant victory of his career to date.
Sporting the maroon and white colours of Sheikh Mohammed, the Shamardal colt, which had run unbeaten Pathfork to a head in the National Stakes there earlier in the month, was cut to 16/1 by Ladbrokes for the English 2,000 Guineas.
Whatever his fate next year, either under Halford's guidance or if the Sheikh opts to transfer him to Godolphin, this is a horse with a future and it is possible he could be seen out again this year following this Group 2 triumph.
Despite being a little uneasy in the market, Casamento gave his connections few worries as Smullen allowed Robin Hood coast along in front before taking closer order in the straight and forging clear from Mawaakef.
“This horse was a bit aggressive leaving the gates and I was happy that Robin Hood gave us a lead. He got very relaxed so I had to stoke him up to go there and, though people might have expected him to be more impressive, he's very nice and was still raw in front,” Smullen explained.
Michael Halford acknowledged freely that he was under pressure beforehand to deliver on his enterprising policy to fork out €10,000 and supplement his charge after Casamento's narrow Group 1 defeat by Pathfork over a furlong shorter trip. “Returning to the Curragh and therefore not travelling the horse far from home was a factor in our decision. Once he really pleased us when we worked him here last Tuesday morning I was quite happy that we had done the right thing,” said Halford.