Harrington delighted as Birdman takes flight at Navan

Jessica Harrington has Royal Ascot in mind for Birdman after he flew to victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Yeats Stakes at Navan.

The Free Eagle gelding was a winner on debut when taking a Cork maiden over a mile and a half in April, and stepped up both in class and trip for his next outing.

Competing over a mile and five furlongs at Listed level, the three-year-old was partnered by Shane Foley in a field of four.

A 9-4 chance, Birdman was ridden patiently but had no trouble taking up the lead in the final two furlongs to secure a comfortable length-and-a-quarter triumph.

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“It was a lovely run and it was great to see,” Harrington.

“It was only the second run of his life and we are delighted.

“Most likely he’ll go for the Queen’s Vase at Ascot, that’s the plan. We thought he would take the jump in class in his stride.

“He goes on good ground and would go on quicker ground. I was a bit worried in Cork that it was a little bit too soft for him, but he coped with that.

“He’s a great big baby and he’s only a frame of a horse. He’s still a work in progress.”

Andy Oliver’s Sounds Like A Plan also has bigger prizes in his sights after a taking three-length win in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

Under Billy Lee the Night Of Thunder colt was making his debut, but showed only a few signs of greenness when scoring at 5-1 to bring Group targets into consideration.

“He’s a horse that at home does his work, eats, sleeps and repeats,” the trainer said.

“Credit to Molly who was leading up today, she rides him every day and just loves him. She does a great job.

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“He had done everything we asked him, we never pushed him at home but he had come on and we felt he was ready for a run.

“We came here with hope rather than expectation because we had never asked him the big question.

“He did it very well and was very straightforward. He was slightly green just when he was out on his own but, apart from that, very straightforward. Billy was very happy with him, so delighted with the performance.

“There is the Marble Hill next week, but it might be a bit quick to come back. You never know, we will see. He has been engaged in the Railway Stakes, obviously with the possibility of going across the water. We’ll talk it out and make a plan.”

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