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Mehnah sparkles on Rouge return at Killarney

Mehnah looked an exciting filly as she started to make up for lost time with an eye-catching performance to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney.

The Kevin Prendergast-trained three-year-old overcame a wide draw on her return following a setback that prevented her from running in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The daughter of Frankel, who is a half-sister to 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Awtaad, showed her class in this Listed contest on what was only her third career start.

She was given a patient ride by Chris Hayes as Holly Golightly, Queen’s Speech and Thinking Of You were to the fore in the early stages.

Mehnah (2-1 favourite) improved her position steadily and came with a strong challenge on the outside in the straight to lead inside the final furlong.

Wearing the famous blue and white colours of Shadwell Estate, she won cosily by three-quarters of a length from Emaniya with Thinking Of You a length away in third place.

Hayes said: “She had an awkward, niggly injury 10 days before the Guineas and it was baby steps since making sure it didn’t come back. It is a muscle up high behind and she was very under cooked but fit enough for today’s level – we have her 75-80% fit.

“I’d imagine he’ll (Prendergast) want to go up in trip with her and maybe the Group Three over a mile and a furlong at Gowran could be a target. I think she is a Group One filly and I think she would be a good ride in the Matron or Sun Chariot.

“People don’t realise, but (from stall 16) you are basically on the road and had to cover a lot of ground. I got in as best I could but from two and a half furlongs down I’ve had to come widest of all and she has taken a blow.

“She is a very good filly.”

Newcomer Hermana Estrella claims surprise Naas verdict

Hermana Estrella was a surprise winner of the Group Three Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas for Chris Hayes and Fozzy Stack.

A two-year-old daughter of Starspangledbanner, the filly was making her racecourse debut after being purchased for £42,000 as yearling.

The outsider of the field of seven, the bay started at 50-1 and cut through the field with two furlongs left to travel to take on leader Quick Suzy.

The two fillies locked horns from the furlong pole onwards, where Hayes’ mount slowly began to pull away from her rival to record a one-length success.

Quick Suzy was the eventual runner-up at 6-1, with 14-1 chance Missing Matron in third and Aidan O’Brien’s 2-7 favourite Contarelli Chapel finishing fourth.

“She’s a very smart filly and Fozzy doesn’t make entries like that unless they are good,” said Hayes

“She’s one of our nicer two-year-olds.

“She was green and raw as you would expect going against experienced company, but to me I was coasting and everything was going in slow motion.

“When Ryan’s (Moore) horse (Contarelli Chapel) faded away, I wanted to chase after Gary (Carroll, aboard Quick Suzy).

“She was green and ran around, but won with her ears pricked. She is one to look forward to.

“I sat on her twice at home, Mark Enright has been riding her in a bit of work and we have always held her in high regard – that’s why she had that entry.”

Layfayette seals fine week for Noel Meade

Layfayette came with a powerful late run to cap a fine week for trainer Noel Meade with victory in the Paddy Power Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh.

Meade, who is better known for his exploits over jumps, produced the shock of Cheltenham with Jack Kidder at 80-1 in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Layfayette was much more fancied at 8-1 and delivered the goods under a patient ride from Chris Hayes, as he dropped down to a mile for the first time since July.

Quizical was one of the early leaders with Star Of Cashel, Agitare and In From The Cold among those close-up in the 24-runner field.

With the field spread across the course, there was enough room for Hayes to get through in the final furlong and stamp his authority in the race.

Layfayette went on to win by half a length from Maker Of Kings, with Comfort Line another half a length away in third and Star Of Cashel a neck back in fourth.

“It’s nice when a plan comes together. We’ve always loved him and I gelded him during the winter,” said Meade.

“I spoke to Chris the other day and I said ‘I think the mile is too short, will I put blinkers on him?’. I put cheekpieces on him and he said they made some difference to him.

“The first day he ran here last year the ground was very quick and it took him a long time to get over it as he was sore after the run.

“He’s quite a nice horse and hopefully he’ll be able to build on that.”

Noel Meade and Chris Hayes with Layfayette
Noel Meade and Chris Hayes with Layfayette (Niall Carson/PA)

He went on: “He’s not a hurdler, he’s not that shape, and he has quite a flicky action.

“A mile and a quarter will probably suit him better, and he was second over a mile and a half.

“He was entitled to win a good one because he’s been knocking on the door.

“I’m delighted for the owner, too, because he hasn’t had a lot of luck lately.”

Class tells for Lady Wannabe at Listowel

Lady Wannabe made the most of having her sights lowered with victory in the Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes.

Fozzy Stack’s filly had raced exclusively in Pattern company so far this year, most recently finishing down the field when a 150-1 shot for the Group One Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown.

Returning to Listed level for the first time since winning at Killarney in August of last year, the daughter of Camelot was a 14-1 shot under Chris Hayes – and proved her class with a near two-length verdict over Aidan O’Brien’s Keats.

Hayes said: “She had a good run the last day in superior company.

“We followed them around – they went good and hard, and the ground was as quick as she wanted – but the drop back in trip suited, and the rain came, which worked out a treat.

“That is probably her ideal trip (nine furlongs). She probably didn’t get home over a mile and a quarter, and they were going a gear too quick for her over a mile.

“She was able to get into a rhythm today and hopefully she can do something again later on.”

Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning combined for a double on the card, with 100-30 chance Sheer Bravado landing division two of the Feale Handicap and Agitare justifying 2-5 favouritism in the Jet & Peggy O’Carroll Memorial (C & G) Maiden.

The latter was not winning out of turn, having previously been placed at Listed and Group-race level this season.

Una Manning, daughter of the winning trainer and wife of the winning rider, said: “He was due his win – it took him a little while, but it was a good performance.

“The boss (Bolger) is delighted with him. He will get further and will go to the horses in training sale later on.”