Pearls Galore sparkles in Fairy Bridge Stakes

Pearls Galore put up a sparkling performance to land a second successive Group Three prize in the Coolmore Stud No Nay Never Fairy Bridge Stakes at Tipperary.

Successful in the Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse last month, the Paddy Twomey-trained filly was an authoritative winner after being well-placed throughout.

Billy Lee was able to position her in second place as Thinking Of You made the running into the straight, where Pearls Galore was asked for her effort.

The 5-2 shot strode clear to put the race bed, with Roca Roma coming from a long way back to claim second spot a length and three-quarters behind the winner. Loch Lein was a further half a length away in third.

Twomey believes Pearls Galore has earned the right to have a crack at the top level.

“I’m delighted she did that,” said the Cashel trainer.

“She was in great form when she won the Brownstown, and I said we’d go straight for the Matron (at Leopardstown next month).

“(But) she was in great form at home, and I felt it would be unwise to bypass this one on our doorstep. It was a very good race, and we had a 3lb penalty.

“I thought if she could do what she did there then we could have a crack at a Group One. I felt it might be a bit fanciful if we hadn’t done something like that.

“She’s earned her shot, wherever it might be. The Matron, the Foret and the First Lady in Keeneland on October 8 are all options – and Keeneland would suit her. It’s a quick, tight mile – but we’ll let the dust settle and come up with a plan.

“She’s bred by Andreas Putsch, who races her and raced all her family. She won’t run next year, so I’d say another run and that will be it.”

Master Matt (14-1) stuck gamely to his task to take the Listed honours in the Abergwaun Stakes, and give apprentice Sam Ewing the biggest success of his fledgling career.

Ewing was unable to claim his 5lb allowance, but it made no difference as he brought the Matt Smith-trained gelding home to win by a neck from White Lavender. Urban Beat finished well for third place, a length and a quarter away.

Smith, celebrating the second Listed winner of his career, said: “I thought he’d be there or thereabouts. Last time at the Curragh the heat got to him, and I was a bit worried about the heat today, but he was all right.

“I think five is probably his best trip because he has plenty of boot, although he’s won over six and seven.

“Sam said he was flat out early on, but he stays well. He’s entered up in a handicap on Champions Weekend, so we’ll see.”

Insinuendo claims Curragh honours in Kilboy contest

Insinuendo claimed Group Two honours for Willie McCreery and Billy Lee in the Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh.

Already a winner at Group Three level having landed the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas in early May, the daughter of Gleneagles was last seen finishing fourth in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes three weeks ago.

Dropping back down in class, Insinuendo was the 11-8 favourite to get back on the winning trail and mowed down April Showers late to prevail by a length and three-quarters.

McCreery said: “This was always the plan after she won her Group Three. She’s a lovely filly and she did that well.

Insinuendo with connections at the Curragh
Insinuendo with connections at the Curragh (Alan Magee/PA)

“She’s in the Matron (at Leopardstown) and we might travel with her as well.

“Billy said she moved beautifully on the ground. He said it was a little bit quick coming down the hill, but other than that it was perfect.

“He said she travelled lovely through the race and always thought he was going to get to them. She just idled a bit when she hit the front.

“I wanted to give her time and Michael (Deegan, owner) has been very patient. It’s one of the first horses that he’s had with me so I’m delighted for him.”

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.”