Sacred Bridge strikes in Naas feature

Sacred Bridge maintained her unbeaten record and bagged the lion’s share of the huge prize-money up for grabs in the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas.

An impressive winner on her racecourse debut at the County Kildare circuit in June, the Ger Lyons-trained filly successfully stepped up to Listed class on her second start at Tipperary.

The daughter of Bated Breath was the 15-8 favourite to complete her hat-trick in this €300,000 contest – and after moving towards the front a a furlong out, she dug deep for Colin Keane to see off the challenge of Richard Hannon’s British challenger Bosh by half a length.

Ultramarine was best of the rest in third, with Ever Given – an impressive nursery winner at Goodwood Friday – a creditable fourth.

Shane Lyons, the winning trainer’s brother and assistant, said: “That was a tough ask with her penalty. Obviously we were attracted by this race with the sponsors, Ballyhane and Joe Foley, and the big pot.

“We’re glad it’s over. Colin said she’s versatile, five or six (furlongs), and she’s getting sharper with her runs.”

Sacred Bridge is likely to be step up to Pattern class on her next start.

“She’s in all the early closers, all the fancy races, and we’ll be campaigning her now in Group races,” Lyons added.

“It’s great to train for these people (Juddmonte) – the pedigrees are second to none.

“We’ll get serious now with the early closers she’s in and take it from there.”

Joseph O’Brien saddled the first two winners of the afternoon, with the Albula particularly impressive when making a winning debut in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

Joseph O'Brien is excited about Albula
Joseph O’Brien is excited by Albula (Simon Cooper/PA)

Seemingly unfancied at 12-1, the daughter of Galileo was good value for the winning margin of a length and a quarter over Dabana.

O’Brien said: “She won nicely and Declan (McDonogh) gave her a lovely ride.

“We liked her at home, I’m surprised that she won but we thought she’d run a nice race. She’s an exciting filly.

“She’ll step into a Listed or Group race now.”

O’Brien doubled up with the Shane Crosse-ridden Ulster Blackwater (5-2) in the Naas Race For Barretstown Children Fillies Maiden.

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