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Point Lonsdale posts emphatic victory in Futurity Stakes

Aidan O’Brien’s leading juvenile Point Lonsdale continued his seamless career progression so far as he remained unbeaten with a dominant display in the Group Two Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes at the Curragh.

Point Lonsdale, previously successful in his maiden over this course and distance, the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and then a Leopardstown Group three last month, was a 1-6 favourite to take another rise in class in his stride.

The Australia colt duly did so, assuming control from an early stage under Ryan Moore and easily maintaining and ultimately stretching his advantage to win by more than four lengths from Maritime Wings.

Point Lonsdale took care of the same opponent on his previous appearance, and his Chesham form had been substantiated earlier in the day when runner-up Reach For The Moon was a decisive Group Three winner at Sandown.

Bookmakers responded to his latest demonstration of superiority by shortening him half a point into 3-1 for the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, while he also retains his grip at the head of the market for both the 2000 Guineas and Derby.

O’Brien quickly confirmed, however, that Point Lonsdale’s next assignment will be a third appearance over this same course and distance – in next month’s Group One Vincent O’Brien National Stakes

The Ballydoyle trainer said: “We’re delighted with him. He’s a lovely, straightforward horse.

“He relaxes, he quickens – and his head goes down to the ground when you ask him. He’s happy to go in front, but if someone wants to lead him, great. When you want him he quickens. He’s a classy horse.

“He wouldn’t like that (yielding) ground – he wants good or better to be ideal, because he’s a lovely mover.

“He’ll come back here for the National Stakes – that’s the plan.”

Agartha was an all-the-way winner of the preceding Group Two on the card, for the two-year-old fillies in the Alpha Centauri Debutante Stakes.

Declan McDonogh bounced Joseph O’Brien’s Agartha out in front – and as the race developed, she always had matters under control to win by two lengths as the 4-1 co-favourite of four.

The daughter of Caravaggio, racing for the sixth time in a busy campaign, was unable to win a maiden in four attempts but sprang a surprise in a Leopardstown Group Three last month – and confirmed her improvement over the same trip here.

Sunset Shiraz, the only maiden in the eight-strong field, stayed on from off the pace to get closest to the winner – but Agartha was in no danger from the 25-1 outsider.

O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell said: “She’s unreal, she’s tough – and Declan said she seems to go on any ground.

“Last time out he made plenty of use of her, and he’s done the same today. You could see them trying to come at her one by one.

“Shane (Crosse) was on the other one (fourth-placed stablemate Seisai) and said they went a proper gallop.

“She seems to stay well – she gallops well and puts her head down. Most of all. she’s an absolute trier.

“I know most were over shorter trips, but it makes you wonder how she didn’t win her maiden. You don’t mind that, with what she’s done now!”

Dual champion jockey Colin Keane had a treble in the bag after the opening three races – all juvenile maidens.

Both Eclat De Lumiere and Straight Answer were successful on their respective racecourse debuts, and then Duke De Sessa was an emphatic winning favourite on his second career start.

Dermot Weld’s well-bred filly Eclat De Lumiere struck late down the middle of the track in the Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, for a half-length success from favourite Benitoite at 7-2 – in the colours of Moyglare Stud.

Juddmonte’s Kodiac colt Straight Answer, trained by Ger Lyons, took control of the DMG Media Irish EBF Maiden mid-race on the way to a length-and-a-quarter victory as 15-8 favourite from Rhea Moon.

Then Keane completed his treble, and a double for Weld, when 6-4 shot Duke De Sessa proved far too good for the opposition in the Coolmore Arizona Irish EBF Maiden – winning by almost five lengths.

Weld confirmed his high opinion of the winner, and Classic aspirations next year.

He said: “He’s a lovely colt.

“He was probably unlucky not to win in Galway but he’s progressed from that and learned from that day. You could call him a winner a long way down there.

“He’ll have one more run this year in a Group race. I’ll speak with (owner) Maurice Regan and see which one we’ll pick.

“He’s a very smart colt and a lovely horse to look forward to – a potential Guineas horse for next year.”

Agartha too strong for Silver Flash field

Agartha made all the running to spring a 16-1 surprise in the Frank Conroy Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown.

Placed in all her four previous starts, the Joseph O’Brien-trained filly got off the mark in game fashion under an enterprising ride by Declan McDonogh.

He had Agartha smartly out of the stalls to grab the lead from the outset and dictate proceedings in this Group Three contest over seven furlongs.

Seasai and Juncture sat behind the leader with Sablonne and Prettiest, the 10-11 favourite, bringing up the rear in the five-strong field.

Agartha in the winner's enclosure after springing a surprise in the Silver Flash Stakes
Agartha in the winner’s enclosure after springing a surprise in the Silver Flash Stakes (Gary Carson/PA)

None of the four were able to get close enough to harass Agartha who found more in the straight to score by two and three-quarter lengths.

Juncture was second with the winner’s stablemate, Seisai, half a length away in third and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Prettiest a disappointing fourth of five.

“We’ve always thought a lot of her and she’s been running very well. Today we said we’d let her bowl along and she loved it. Maybe we were restricting her a bit much,” said the winning trainer.

“When we let her bowl along today, she really got into a great rhythm and galloped.

“They didn’t let her go, they followed her along all the way, she’s a good filly.

“I’d say she’ll go further too. The dam won a mile-and-a-six Listed race, so she could certainly go a mile at two anyway.”

Agartha could now head for the Group Two Debutante Stakes at the Curragh next month.

“We’ll probably head for the Debutante with her now. We’ve always had a very high opinion of her and she’s done nothing but improve with each run,” O’Brien added.