04/15/2010 11:00PM

Lofty goals for Roan Inish


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Carolyn Costigan's training career had a memorable beginning when her first starter, Roan Inish, won the $251,200 Princess Elizabeth at Woodbine in October.

Costigan is hoping for even more this year from Roan Inish, who is pointing for the Woodbine Oaks and, if all goes well, the Queen's Plate.

"She wintered very well," Costigan said. "She's bigger, stronger - in better form physically and happier, mentally, than when she shipped in from Ireland last year."

Costigan, 28, had seven horses for her father, Bob Costigan, at California's San Luis Downs and has the same horses here for her first full Woodbine meeting. Her first two runners of the meet were scheduled to run Saturday.

Before being transferred to Costigan, Roan Inish had raced three times in Ireland for trainer Jim Bolger, for whom Costigan had worked as an assistant after graduating from the Darley Flying Start program. The filly arrived with Costigan at Woodbine a week before the Princess Elizabeth and overcame a poor start there to score by a length under jockey David Moran.

Two weeks later, Roan Inish cut back from 1 1/16 miles to seven furlongs and moved from Canadian-bred to open company for the Glorious Song in November.

With jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva in the irons for the first time, Roan Inish finished strongly and was beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Kentucky-bred Cascading.

Costigan said Roan Inish then spent 90 days in Kentucky before going to California. She checked into Woodbine a couple of weeks ago and is slated to make her season debut in the $150,000 Fury, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies here May 1.

If all remains well, Roan Inish will proceed to the open La Lorgnette at 1 1/16 miles here May 23 and then the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies June 13.

"Her target is the Oaks," Costigan said. "Obviously, we want to do the right thing by her, physically and mentally. But she has the breeding and the ability, and if she's up to the task we'll definitely have the Plate in our sights.

"She wants every bit of that distance, and she's aggressive enough to go after the boys," she said. "She's a very aggressive competitor."

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run July 4.

Tir Chonaill is 'one to watch'

Costigan said she is looking forward to the return of Tir Chonaill, a 3-year-old colt who finished sixth in his debut in a one-mile maiden race at Santa Anita this winter.

"He was just starting to figure it out at the eighth pole," Costigan said. "He just needs that little bit more distance. But he had a little bit of a setback and needs a couple of months off. He's definitely one to watch."

Tir Chonaill, a Kentucky-bred, is by Giant's Causeway out of the Gone West mare Widady.

Bay to Bay back from Keeneland

Bay to Bay, the runner-up in Thursday's Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland, is scheduled to return to Woodbine early next week.

A Florida-bred trained by Brian Lynch, Bay to Bay made her first start in more than six months in the Appalachian, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies. She rallied from seventh in the field of eight and was beaten three-quarters of a length.

"I was thrilled with her race," Lynch said. "She was shuffled back a little and showed a bit of greenness coming off the layoff. But she was running right to the end."

Bay to Bay performed well on both surfaces here last year, winning the Grade 3 Natalma over one mile on turf and finishing second to Biofuel, the eventual divisional co-champion, in the Grade 3 Mazarine over 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack.

Bay to Bay is being considered for the La Lorgnette as well as the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas, a one-mile turf race at Arlington Park on May 22.

Wildcat Frankie puts in work

Wildcat Frankie breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 under rider Patrick Husbands here Friday morning in preparation for the $150,000 Woodstock, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds April 24.

A Florida-bred gelding trained by Jim Hatchett, Wildcat Frankie finished second in his local debut in the five-furlong allowance prep for the Woodstock on April 3.

The Woodstock attracted 18 nominees, but a short field is expected. Many of the nominees will be in action this weekend, and the connections of others have stated their preference for other spots.

Fastin Bear, winner of the prep for the Bear Stable of Danny Dion and trainer Reade Baker, is among the Woodstock nominees, but Baker said he planned to run him in the $150,000 Queenston, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds May 15.

Fatal Bullet breezes for Vigil

Fatal Bullet, another Bear Stable star trained by Baker, breezed five furlongs in 59.60 on the training track here Friday morning under regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva.

Unstarted since last November's Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, Fatal Bullet is on target to return here in the Grade 3 Vigil at seven furlongs May 9.

The Vigil is a $150,000 race for 4-year-olds and upward.

* A list of 19 nominees for the Fury was released on Friday. Joining Roan Inish as a leading candidate is Resentless, runner-up in the Princess Elizabeth and winner of the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie last fall for owner Don Ross and trainer Ian Howard.