Black type aim for Vernet following Curragh win

Vernet recorded the narrowest of victories after a thrilling climax to the Barberstown Castle Irish EBF Fillies Maiden at the Curragh.

Fourth behind subsequent Group Two winner Statuette on her racecourse debut at Navan in May, Joseph O’Brien’s 16-1 shot denied Clounmacon by a nose in the hands of Declan McDonogh.

“She’s a good, hardy filly. She had a good run first time over five-and-a-half (furlongs) in a good maiden and we thought when she went seven she’d show some progress,” said O’Brien.

“She had to be tough there today. It was very close, just a bob of the heads. It’s great to win a maiden with her.

“We’ll head for some black type now. I thought she showed plenty of pace so I wouldn’t be against coming back to six with her.”

Joseph O’Brien and Mikey Sheehy with Nusret
Joseph O’Brien and Mikey Sheehy with Nusret (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Owning Hill handler was on the mark again later in the afternoon, with Nusret getting off the mark in the Aquaturf Maiden under an ice-cool Mikey Sheehy.

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The 9-4 chance was not winning out of turn after finishing second three times this season, most recently being beaten a nose at Limerick.

Hot favourite Over The Rainbow (8-11) was under pressure before the home turn and while she stuck at it admirably, Nusret cruised to the front and was pushed out to score by a length and three-quarters.

O’Brien said: “He had been running consistently well and we’ve been learning about him. The race set up lovely for him and Mikey gave him a lovely confident ride.

“We could look at one of those nice handicaps on Irish Champions Weekend and there is a good chance he will go hurdling at some stage. He has plenty of size and could be a nice horse for that job as well.”

Johnny Murtagh at the Curragh
Johnny Murtagh at the Curragh (Brian Lawless/PA)

Johnny Murtagh and Ben Coen teamed up to land the AK Bets ‘Better Prices Than The Corporates’ Handicap with 4-1 chance Kerkiyra seeing off Nectarine by a neck.

“Ben said when she got to the front she kind of pricked her ears. Instead of going and winning she kind of parked herself a bit,” said Murtagh.

“In fairness to her every time they came to her she battled on well. He said she hit the line well and he knew he’d won.

“She’s probably still learning and I think we’ll step her up in class now. Hopefully she can improve and step up.”

Murtagh and Coen looked to have a good chance of doubling up in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap, but their 3-1 favourite Miss Mirabell could finish only fifth behind Mick Mulvany’s Red Heel (14-1) and 7lb claimer Wesley Joyce.

Mulvany said: “She was sick earlier in the year after her first run. I thought she worked very well the other day and I was confident enough coming today that we were going to have a big run.

“We’ll probably go to the fillies’ Listed race in Galway. I can see the handicapper giving her a few pounds for that.”

The Willie McCreery-trained Are We Dreaming justified 3-1 favouritism in the Finlay Volvo Handicap, with Billy Lee the winning rider.

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