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Elysium too strong for Weld Park field

Noel Meade’s Elysium caused a minor upset in the Weld Park Stakes at the Curragh.

A field of 10 juvenile fillies faced the starter in the seven-furlong Group Three, with the Jessica Harrington-trained No Speak Alexander the 3-1 favourite after finishing second in a Listed event at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend.

Elysium was rated 17lb inferior to the market leader, having been placed in a couple of conditions races since opening her account at Navan in June.

However, ridden by Billy Lee, the 12-1 shot raised her game significantly to claim victory by a length and a half from Aunty Bridy – providing her multiple champion jumps trainer with a rare Pattern success on the Flat.

Thinking Of You beat No Speak Alexander to third place by a nose.

Meade said: “Some people might be surprised by that, but I’m not. She’s been showing me that all the time at home – and I thought we’d nothing to lose by running here, because if she got into the shake-up she’d be worth a few quid.

“Billy said he got a bump coming out of the gate, and it lit her up a bit. He was able to stick her in and get her relaxed again – and he couldn’t believe how she picked up.

“I own a piece of her myself, along with two friends. We bought four two-year-olds with the idea of selling them, so I would be surprised if the money comes that we don’t sell.

“It’s a while since we had a Group race winner on the Flat, but we’ve not had too many runners.”

Epona Plays on top in Gowran Group Three prize

Epona Plays landed Group Three honours for trainer Willie McCreery and jockey Billy Lee in the Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes at Gowran Park.

Since shedding her maiden tag at the County Kilkenny circuit in July, the daughter of Australia had finished fourth in the Hurry Harriet Stakes at Gowran and third in the Snow Fairy Stakes at the Curragh.

Sent off a 9-2 chance for this nine-and-a-half-furlong contest, Epona Plays travelled kindly into the home straight and got the better of a final furlong battle with Etneya by a neck.

Market leader Ennistymon (2-1) – runner-up in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot and the Oaks at Epsom earlier in the season – was disappointing in first-time blinkers.

McCreery said: “I thought she was a decent filly last year and she ran a cracking race in Leopardstown.

“It’s taken her a while to get going, but she loves it here. She’s progressing well and they went a proper gallop.

“Billy said she was just behind the bit lovely all the way and when he asked her, she was always going to respond. He said she did it snugly in the end.

“I’m delighted for the owner/breeders Renzo Forni and his daughter Raffaello. That’s the fourth of that family that have won for me and the three fillies have all got black type.

“She had a little niggle earlier in the year that we have sorted out and she’s coming on the whole time. She’s a lovely, scopey filly and goes on any ground.”