It is never too early to start dreaming of the annual ‘Run For The Roses’ at Churchill Downs, and Godolphin trainer Kiaran McLaughlin already believes he has two young colts, who could be realistic contenders come May 5, 2018.
Enticed, a son of Medaglia d’Oro, caught the eye with a handsome win in Saturday’s G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, over an extended one mile on dirt, at Churchill Downs.
And this weekend, stablemate Avery Island puts his credentials on the line, over a mile and one-sixteenth, at Aqueduct, New York. McLaughlin has purposely kept the two colts apart.
“I think we are fully justified in thinking of the Derby for both of them, at this stage,” McLaughlin said.
“Enticed is a big strong colt, who is learning and improving all the time,” the trainer reported.
“He’s got a great pedigree, being out of It’s Tricky, who is one of the best I’ve trained. He’s also got a great mind, so he checks all the boxes,” he added.
An indication of Enticed’s potential was his third in the G1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, New York, on October 7.
He finished behind Firenze Fire and Good Magic, the latter subsequently landing the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar on November 4.
“He’s G1 placed, and the form is very good. I think it’s exciting going forward.
“It was a fast track, which he may not get back there at Churchill in May, but he got plenty of experience. It was a 14-horse field, and he was six wide at the second turn. He got plenty of schooling,” the trainer added.
Enticed could have two or three more outings before the G1 Kentucky Derby in May. His next likely run will be on February 3, at either Aqueduct or Gulfstream Park.
Avery Island, a son of Street Sense, already has two wins on the board, including a last start victory in the G2 Nashua Stakes, over one mile.
A win in New York on Saturday would have this colt firmly on target, too, for a tilt at the Derby in six months.
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