O'Callaghan on song for Ascot

ROYAL Ascot is braced for the invasion of Irish-American singer and training sensation Carl O'Callaghan who has designs on the Golden Jubilee Stakes with Dubai winner Kinsale King.

O'Callaghan offers a real life rags-to-riches story, having ended up homeless on the streets of New York in the early 1990s before setting up in California last year and scooping the Dubai Golden Shaheen in March. That victory for Kinsale King has seen the County Cork native's string rocket from five horses to close on 50. He also has Kieren Fallon booked to partner the five-year-old on Saturday week.

Kinsale King is unbeaten since joining his pub-singing handler last year.

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O'Callaghan, who has released four albums in the States, said: "He has shipped just grand and I have kept him happy and sound. He has a lot of heart and character and he loves to run. If you take care of him and point him in the right direction then he looks after himself.

"I am a bit of a dreamer and when I saw last year that Wesley (Ward) can come here I thought I could too. It is great to be here and I am a bit nervous, but away we go. It does look a tough race and they are never easy – they aren't just going to sign a cheque with my name on. We have got this far and we can only see what happens."

Kinsale King is second only to John Gosden's Showcasing in the ante-post lists and had Fallon on board when completing his preparations in America last week.

"I got to know Kieren in California last autumn and he is back in the game now and looking well," said O'Callaghan. "He flew out to Belmont last week where the horse was in quarantine and worked him a stiff half mile."

Further international flavour is added to the Jubilee with the presence of Paul Messara's seven-year-old mare Alverta, who is returning to full strength after losing almost 40 kilograms on the journey from Australia. Messara said: "She has improved a lot in the last few days and has piled the weight back on. I was concerned when she arrived as she had a long flight and a 14-hour truck journey to the airport so it was about a 45-hour trip.

"She is the right horse for the track and I think she will run a very strong race. She has ran Takeover Target to a nose a couple off times and I think she is the right type of mare for these races.

"The plan is also to stay on for the July Cup as the uphill finish at Newmarket will suit her."

Meanwhile, David Hayes believes Sir Michael Stoute's rejuvenated Kingsgate Native should be favourite for the King's Stand Stakes at the Royal meeting next Tuesday – ahead of his own Australian speedster Nicconi.

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Frankie Dettori will be aboard Nicconi, who has already scooped the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge by taking the Coolmore Lightning Stakes at Flemington in January. Bookmakers are running scared of Hayes' challenger, who is the general 3-1 favourite, ahead of Kingsgate Native at 5-1.

However, Hayes feels the layers have it wrong. "He has been unplaced in his last two runs and I think Sir Michael Stoute's horse should be favourite.

When he wins, he wins well, but he can have a shocker so you can't be confident," he said.

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