Eddie Lynam has proved himself a dab hand with sprinters down the years and Romantic Proposal looks to be developing into a smart one following her victory in the Dubai Duty Free Dash Stakes at the Curragh.
While she may be a five-year-old, her career has been one of steady progression to date, but there was no doubt this performance was a career best.
A close second in a Group Three last time out, she was dropped out in last place by Chris Hayes before picking up stylishly with a furlong to run and putting the race to bed some way out.
The 11-4 favourite beat Teresa Mendoza by a length and a half with Quarantine Dreams third.
Betfair cut the winner to 16-1 from 33s for the Nunthorpe at York in August.
“She’s getting better. We took our time with her and didn’t run her at two, progressed at three and this idiot thought she might be a miler!” said Lynam.
“Clipper (Logistics Group, owners) have always had a horse with me and I’ve had a good bit of luck for them. We don’t have many owners so it’s nice to be able to do something good for them and they have been very patient.
“She was always going well but I thought we were running out of furlongs and then she got there in a heartbeat.
“She’s not ground dependent but if it came up slow she might take her chance in the Sapphire, which is back to five. If it didn’t, there are plenty of other options.
“I’ve been quite ambitious and she’s the first one that I’ve entered up in a Group One (Nunthorpe) for a long time. I think she’s good, but the handicapper thinks she’s only 101 and he’s usually right. I think she’s a bit better than that but time will tell.”
Mick Halford’s Sindhia (8-1) was a slightly fortunate winner of the Dubai Duty Free Summer Fillies Handicap.
Over a furlong out both she and Mia Mento went for the same gap, with Ronan Whelan getting there first which proved crucial.
As soon as Mia Mento got in the clear she fairly flew home, but the line came too soon and she went down by half a length.
Halford said: “She’s a smashing filly and I asked Pat (Downes, Aga Khan’s Irish Studs manager) to keep her in training, which you wouldn’t do too often with a filly with her rating.
“I always felt the best was yet to come with her. She’s a half-sister to Sonaiyla who improved greatly at four and I felt this filly had the potential to do that.
“It’s great to get a winner here this weekend and especially for His Highness, who has been a great supporter of ours, and especially a filly like her when you stick your neck out to keep her in training at four. Hopefully there is more to come from her.”
Teenage jockey Ben Coen once again underlined his potential with a daring run up the rail on Fourhometwo (4-1) in the Dubai Duty Free Celebration Stakes.
Ryan Moore appeared to have seen off all the challengers on Khartoum but just left enough room on his inside for Coen to take advantage on Johnny Murtagh’s improving three-year-old.
“He needs a good pace and we had that to aim at. He’s a nice horse for all those races and is improving the whole time,” said Coen.
“He’s a bit buzzy but he’s getting better with every run. I like him.”
Sirjack Thomas was a 25-1 winner of the Dubai Duty Free Handicap for Ado McGuinness and young jockey Cian MacRedmond.
McGuinness said: “He won at Galway last year, I didn’t think he’d be high enough to get into the Galway Mile but he will be now and that’s where he’ll head.
“Cian is a very classy rider and we’ll have to hold on to his claim until Galway.”