Craftsman (IRE) changed gears impressively in the turn forging to the lead in midstretch proving much the best in the $50,000 Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park. Jockey Alex Cintron has become familiar with Craftsman (IRE) having breezed the three-year-old son of Mastercraftsman (IRE) several times. Trainer Graham Motion had the colt fine-tuned for a top performance coming into this seven and one-half furlong turf stakes and Craftsman (IRE) delivered.
Craftsman (IRE) was purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners in November of 2013. Following a victory in the Group 3 JRA Killavullan Stakes in Ireland, he was shipped to the United States and began his stateside career in California. After competing over the rock hard grass surface at Santa Anita and the synthetic at Golden Gate, it became evident Craftsman (IRE) would benefit competing over the softer grass courses found on the east coast. Craftsman (IRE) joined Graham Motion’s string at Fair Hill, MD in late May. The Fair Hill Training Center has a European feel and Craftsman (IRE) flourished in his new surroundings.
Under the baby blue and black silks of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Craftsman (IRE) showed in the Nick Shuk Memorial that the form exhibited in Ireland was not a mirage and there is a lot of blue sky ahead.
Craftsman’s tally on Thursday marked the 20th Stakes score for Eclipse since the company launched in late 2011.