Tag Archive for: Declan McDonogh

Visualisation lands Listed prize at Listowel

Visualisation led his rivals a merry dance in the Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes.

Winner of the valuable “Habitat” Handicap at the Curragh earlier in the summer before claiming a second place at Royal Ascot, Joseph O’Brien’s charge was last seen finishing down the field in the Group Three Royal Whip Stakes.

Dropping down to Listed class in the feature event on day three of the Harvest Festival, Visualisation was a well supported 7-2 chance and ultimately won with plenty in hand.

Drawn widest of all in stall 11, the three-year-old was rousted away from the stalls by Declan McDonogh, enabling him to move across the field and grab the lead.

The chasing pack attempted to close the gap from the home turn, but Visualisation never looked in any real danger of being caught and passed the post with two and a half lengths in hand over Geometrical, with Casanova close up in third.

O’Brien’s assistant, Brendan Powell, said: “Declan was brilliant on him. He got him out from the gates and to the front and he has dictated lovely the whole way. He has given him a breather on the bend and then kicked.

“I think he is improving all the time and obviously the softer the ground, the better. He stays well, is very genuine and has won that well in the end.

“That’s his best win and the best he has been. Where Joseph will go now I don’t know, but he’ll stay further.”

It proved to be a profitable afternoon for favourite backers, with the market leaders of the first four races all striking gold.

Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan teamed up to land the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden with even-money shot Aikhal, before Jarlath Fahey’s Pimstrel (7-2) strode clear of her rivals under Leigh Roche in division one of the Rose Hotel Handicap.

Division two went the way of Eoin McCarthy’s Drombeg Duke (100-30), ridden by Gavin Ryan, while Dermot Weld’s Mutasarref looks ready for a step up in grade judged on his ready success in the Jet & Peggy O’Carroll Memorial (C & G) Maiden in the hands of Colin Keane.

Kris Weld, assistant to his father, said: “After his last run he looked like he should go and win today and thankfully he has. Hopefully we will go and look for a handicap for him next.

“His dam (Mulkeyya) loved an ease in the ground and we anticipated he would handle it well.”

Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley continued their hot streak by landing the last two races of the day, with Tut Tut (5-2) getting back on the winning trail in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Premier Nursery and Laelaps obliging in the Listowel Arms Hotel Handicap at 15-2.

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.

Nothing hidden about Insinuendo’s class

Insinuendo swooped late to secure Group Three honours in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Blue Wind Stakes at Naas.

Willie McCreery’s four-year-old was conceding weight to all but Thunder Kiss, but it was the two older fillies who fought out a thrilling finish.

Insinuendo (15-2) was settled in the pack early on by Declan McDonogh as outsider Dearg Jazz set off in front, building up a handy five-length advantage at halfway before the field started to close in on the turn for home.

Dearg Jazz quickly dropped away with Thunder Kiss making her bid for glory, but McDonogh had timed his challenge to perfection, with Insinuendo edging in front in the shadow of the post to win by half a length .

Willow was sent off the 11-4 joint-favourite and kept on for third, but fellow market leader Sacred Rhyme disappointed, dropping right out in the straight to finish last of the seven runners.

Insinuendo was having just her third career start having won a maiden on her debut at three and finished third on her seasonal bow at Tipperary last month.

McCreery said: “I have to thank (owner) Michael Deegan as I wanted to run her on Wednesday in Gowran, but he thought this might cut up and Group Three placing would be better than Listed.

“Michael is a good owner to have and a ballsy owner, which is what you want. He said no harm done if things don’t work out.

“She ran a cracking race in Tipperary over a distance shorter than she needed, but I ran her there to get more experience.

“I was worried that she might not settle, but there was plenty of pace on which suited.

“Declan said she loved that ground and she fought hard. The plan was to get her black type and we have that now.

“She’s a big, tall filly and I wanted to take my time with her.”

King Of Bavaria (7-1) emerged as a possible Royal Ascot contender when making a victorious debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

The No Nay Never colt was to the fore throughout, taking the lead with a furlong to run under Wayne Lordan to beat Silver Surfer by three-quarters of a length with 10-11 favourite Celtic Times only third.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge is a 12-1 shot with Paddy Power for next month’s Coventry Stakes.

Lordan said: “He jumped a tad slow but got into stride quick and showed plenty of pace.

“He showed a little bit of greenness in the last furlong, but I thought he got to the line well.

“He’s a nice big colt.”

Freedom Of Speech is set for a step up in class after striking gold at the third time of asking in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race.

Representing the 2000 Guineas-winning team of Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning, the 9-2 chance kept on gamely at the finish to beat newcomer Lopes Gold by three-quarters of a length.

Bolger was represented by his daughter Una Manning, who said: “She handled the ground well and the bit of experience probably helped. I thought she was very courageous as she didn’t have it all her own way and battled back well.

“The plan now would be to move her up to Listed company and she’ll want a step up in trip as well.

“She’s very much a filly for next year.”

The Joe Murphy-trained Pale Irish claimed her second victory of the week in the 40,000 euro Irish Racing Writers Handicap.

Turning out just five days after scoring at the Curragh, the 3-1 shot followed up under Gary Carroll – beating 11-4 favourite Notoriously Risky by three-quarters of a length.

Murphy said: “Gary said she quickened twice and got him out of trouble. We’ll make an entry for her in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“She took the race really well at the Curragh and was squealing at home the day after.

“I was impressed with her today. She’s class and is as good as I’ve ever had. It takes a good horse to quicken twice over six at Naas.”