Captain Guinness serves up Poplar Square success

Captain Guinness got back on track with an emphatic success in the Grade Three Poplar Square Chase at Naas – the second leg of a four-timer on the card for Rachael Blackmore.

The six-year-old, trained by Henry de Bromhead, quickly stamped his authority on the two-mile contest after taking the lead at the second-last fence.

The 6-5 favourite drew clear of his five rivals in the hands of Rachael Blackmore to score by four and three-quarter lengths from Andy Dufresne.

De Bromhead said: “He settled really well, which is key to him, and that is just what we wanted. It’s brilliant for the Landys (owners), who are all here today.

“We’ve always thought he was a brilliant jumper, and it was just unfortunate a few times last year. Punchestown was probably a run too many last season.

“This was always an obvious race to start off, but I’m not sure where we’ll go next. I’d imagine Leopardstown at Christmas would be one, and whether we do anything between now and then I’m not sure.

“The Tingle Creek and the Hilly Way at Cork would be the two obvious races between now and Christmas if we do run him again.”

Captain Guinness was cut to 20-1 from 33-1 for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Blackmore was completing a double at that stage, having already scored on Uhtred (4-9 favourite) for Joseph O’Brien in the opening BetVictor Maiden Hurdle.

Teahupoo then won a dramatic race for the Grade Three BetVictor Fishery Lane Hurdle.

Autumn Evening looked to hold every chance when taking a nasty tumble at the second-last flight, leaving Teahupoo (2-1) to land the spoils.

Running for the first time since losing his unbeaten record to Jeff Kidder at Fairyhouse in April, the Gordon Elliott-trained four-year-old shrugged of Quilixios to score by 12 lengths under Jack Kennedy. Jeff Kidder was third.

Kennedy said: “He was very good. Autumn Evening went at the second last, but I felt I had him covered at the time.

Teahupoo after his Grade Three triumph in the BetVictor Fishery Labe Hurdle
Teahupoo after his Grade Three triumph in the BetVictor Fishery Labe Hurdle (Alan Magee/PA)

“I reluctantly had to go forward early on and I was much happier when Rachael went on. He picked him up well and stayed galloping. He jumped brilliant.

“I hadn’t ridden him in a race before, but he’s obviously after improving from last year and is a lovely horse.”

Teahupoo was introduced at 16-1 with Paddy Power and Betfair for the Unibet Champion Hurdle.

Of Quilixios, de Bromhead said: “He was hanging right and jumping right, which is not him. He didn’t do that at Cheltenham.

“He seemed great coming into the race, but it definitely wasn’t him. Obviously it was his first run of the season, but the hanging right would be a concern.”

Rachael Blackmore (left) after completing her first four-timer with victory on Mr Invincible
Rachael Blackmore (left) after completing her first four-timer with victory on Mr Invincible (Alan Magee/PA)

Blackmore’s four-timer was completed with victories on Eric Bloodaxe and Mr Incredible.

Eric Bloodaxe took the BetVictor Iriusg EBF Maiden Hurdle as the 5-4 favourite – sweeping to an eight-length winning margin over Supreme Jet, on his first start over jumps, giving O’Brien a double.

“He still looks big, and I’m sure there is a lot to work on still. He’s a hard horse to get fit,” said O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell.

“Rachael said he was always in control. He had a blow but he was always going to win.”

The Grand National-winning jockey capped another landmark day by winning on the De Bromhead-trained Mr Incredible. The 11-10 favourite had plenty to do but ate up the ground in the closing stages to collar Indiana Jones by two and a quarter lengths.

De Bromhead said: “We bought him off Colin Bowe after he was placed in a point-to-point, and he came well recommended. Chasing is his game.

“Rachel said he suddenly took off after the second last. He’s a funny fella at home, so we haven’t done much, but he would strike me as a stayer.”

Altior’s half-sister Bellatior (10-11 favourite) made a winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares (Pro-Am) INH Flat Race.

The four-year-old, who cost €300,000 at the sales in August 2020, beat Kilbarry Chloe by three-quarters of a length to complete a double for the Elliott stable.

“She’s a little bit hot but she’s very nice,” said the winning trainer.

“She’s going to be good. She was keen – but to pick up and go as she did was good. We’ll take our time with her and probably leave her now until the spring.”

Quilixios and Kidder clash in Naas feature

Cheltenham Festival winners Quilixios and Jeff Kidder will lock horns for the second time on a quality card at Naas on Saturday.

Unbeaten in his first three starts for Gordon Elliott, Quilixios was switched to Henry de Bromhead’s yard prior to winning the Triumph Hurdle in March under Rachael Blackmore.

The Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding subsequently disappointed at Punchestown behind the Noel Meade-trained Jeff Kidder, who had previously won the Fred Winter at Cheltenham and a Fairyhouse Grade Two.

The pair will renew rivalry in the Grade Three BetVictor Fishery Lane Hurdle, with Quilixios making his first appearance since his Punchestown defeat in May.

De Bromhead said: “It is always hard for the juvenile hurdlers when they step up with the big guns, but this is the perfect opportunity to get his season started as it is for four-year-olds only and we’ll see how we get on before planning from there.

“He’s done really well in the summer. He looks great and we’re really happy with him.

“It’s all systems go now to start off in a lovely race for him at Naas.”

While Quilixios has been off the track for six months, Jeff Kidder is race-fit after three spins on the Flat between July and October.

The four-year-old has been a beaten favourite on each occasion, but Meade is hoping a return to the jumping game will see him in a better light.

He said: “Henry’s horse didn’t run his race in Punchestown and I think he’s going to be very hard to beat if he has him right.

“My horse has been very disappointing on the Flat, but he’s in good form and we’ll do our best.”

Teahupoo (Gordon Elliott), An Epic Song (Martin Brassil), Autumn Evening (Jessica Harrington) and Vultan (Joseph O’Brien) are the other hopefuls.

Grade Three honours are also up for grabs in the following Poplar Square Chase, in which De Bromhead and Blackmore team up with Captain Guinness.

The six-year-old won on his debut over fences at Punchestown last season before going on the chase home the top-class Energumene at Naas before finishing third in the Arkle.

He failed to complete on his other two starts at Leopardstown in Punchestown, but De Bromhead is looking forward to his return.

He added: “Captain Guinness wears his heart on his sleeve, but is exciting when he puts it all together.

“He’s in really good form, he’s summered really well and he seems ready to go.

“We always thought he was a brilliant jumper so touch wood, I think he has just been unfortunate. It’s just one of those things, but he’s usually very good.”

Elliott has a pair of runners in Felix Desjy and Andy Dufresne, while Gavin Cromwell saddles Darver Star, who never quite got his act together over fences last term after being placed in both the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle previous season.

Big outsiders Choungaya (Andrew McNamara) and Serpolette (Eamon Delaney) complete the field.

Double for Keane on day champions crowned at Naas

Colin Keane capped his record-breaking campaign with a double in the final two races of the season at Naas – kickstarted by a memorable victory on 33-1 shot Yaxeni in the Colm White Bookmaker November Handicap.

Ireland’s champion jockey had his third title wrapped up long ago, and broke Joseph O’Brien’s previous all-time record for the number of winners in a season with three weeks to spare.

It was hugely fitting therefore that he added not just another feature-race success on the last Flat turf card of the year but then immediately steered a winning favourite home, too, as the appropriately-named Team Of Firsts completed the double for him and trainer Ger Lyons.

Keane, who therefore finished with 141 winners, had to be at his best on Yaxeni.

The four-year-old filly, trying the marathon two-mile trip for the first time, helped to force the pace along with Torcello for much of the race.

But she was collared by eventual runner-up Powerful Aggie and appeared set for second at best until she rallied in the final furlong to hit the front again and win by half a length.

Keane then scored by an emphatic seven lengths as 7-2 favourite Team Of Firsts dominated the Congratulations To The 2021 Flat Champions Handicap.

All smiles for Colin Keane and his family
All smiles for Colin Keane and his family (Healy Racing)

“It’s been an unbelievable year. From the very start to the last day, we ride for some great people – there are great people around us,” he said

Paying his tribute to Keane, Shane Lyons, assistant to his brother, said: “It was a brilliant ride and it encapsulated Colin’s whole season in a few minutes there.”

He added of the winner: “To be fair to the filly she’s an absolute model of consistency. It’s the first time she’s stepped up to two miles and we knew she’d get it no problem. She thrives on that ground, she’s so one-paced but a good one-paced.

“She stays in training next year and it will be all about getting black type. Getting that trip on that ground she can step up in class as well, she might have to travel to the likes of France.”

Aidan O'Brien was crowned champion trainer once more
Aidan O’Brien was crowned champion trainer once more (Healy Racing)

Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien’s King Of Bavaria earlier retained his unbeaten record with an impressive victory in the Tally-Ho Stud Irish EBF Birdcatcher Premier Nursery Handicap.

The son of No Nay Never was saddled with joint top-weight in this valuable event, on the basis of his win in a strong maiden over five furlongs on debut at this course back in May.

The 11-2 second-favourite had not been seen since, but defied both his absence and his burden to take control in the final furlong under Seamie Heffernan for a decisive length-and-a-half victory from outsider Past Time.

O’Brien will give King Of Bavaria – co-owned by champion owner Sue Magnier – an opportunity next spring to prove whether he can move up to a mile and become a Classic contender.

“We’re delighted with him – it’s a long time since he ran, and we were very worried about the ground,” said O’Brien.

“We thought he was a nice horse and thought he was an Ascot horse when we ran him here – but he just had a little bit of a setback and didn’t get back.

“We missed going to Leopardstown with him (for the Killavullan Stakes) – Mrs Stockwell’s horse (Glounthaune) went there instead.

“He has plenty of speed and obviously handles that ground – but handles good ground very well too.

“We’ll look forward to him next year, train him for one of the Guineas trials – and if we think he’s not going to get a mile come back to five or six with him, because he has plenty of speed.”

Champion apprentice Dylan Browne McMonagle with father John, mother Caroline and sister Orlaith
Champion apprentice Dylan Browne McMonagle with father John, mother Caroline and sister Orlaith (Healy Racing)

Noel Meade’s Joe Masseria broke his duck, in first-time cheekpieces, keeping on strongly in the final furlong to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden by almost two lengths under champion apprentice Dylan Browne McMonagle.

The gelded son of Fast Company, last seen finishing midfield over a furlong shorter here two weeks ago in a very valuable auction series final, appeared to improve for the move up to a mile – mastering Ruler Legend.

After the juvenile’s 10-1 success, at the sixth attempt, Meade – who enjoyed his first Group One triumph on the level this year with the Keane-ridden Helvic Dream in the Tattersalls Gold Cup – said: “It’s a lovely way to finish the season. The season was good to us on the Flat, so we’ll be sorry to see the end of it.”

McMonagle has every reason to have similar feelings.

He said: “That was great. I’m delighted to get a winner for Noel today, because he has given me loads of opportunities throughout the year.

“It’s been an unbelievable year – what dreams are made of. To ride so many winners in the year has been amazing.

“I’m looking forward to next year already and I hope it’s as good. I owe a massive thanks to everyone who has helped and given me opportunities. It wouldn’t be possible without them.”

Henry de Bromhead might have designs on the champion jumps trainer crown this term – but demonstrated once again that he is universally adept across the codes when his Grade Two and Three-winning hurdler added a Listed prize in the Finale Stakes.

The seven-year-old, having just his second start on the Flat after a maiden win at Fairyhouse last autumn, was half a length too good for Azallya – staying on well under Billy Lee to justify his status at the 100-30 favourite.

De Bromhead said: “They are his conditions – he loves that ground.

“He’s in the Morgiana (Hurdle, at Punchestown next month) – so that would be a nice piece of work for that!”

Meade and Hayes combine to headline Naas action

Noel Meade and Chris Hayes dominated at Naas as Elysium won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes and Lady Of Inishfree landed the Irish EBF Auction Series Race Final.

Elysium was bought by George Strawbridge having won a Group Three last season, but things had not gone to plan for her this campaign.

Off the track until Ascot in July, she was last of seven there, before finishing down the field at both Gowran and Cork.

However, Meade has his string in excellent condition at present and she arrived on the heels of the leaders a furlong out travelling ominously well for Hayes.

Emphatic Answer kept her honest close home but Elysium won by half a length.

Meade said “George bought her after she won the Group Three (Weld Park Stakes) last year and he kindly left her with me.

“We didn’t have a great run with her. I was hoping she’d run in the Irish Guineas but we never got a chance to train her for it.

“She got a lung infection in the spring and we couldn’t get her right. We had all sorts of problems and it’s only in the last six weeks she started to come right.

“She was a bit unlucky in Cork where she got into all sorts of trouble. I knew that every day she was getting a bit better.

“There is a race at Leopardstown next Saturday that she might go for and if not, this will probably be her last run for me as she might be going to the States.

“I’m delighted as he’s a lovely man to train for and he’s been very patient when things weren’t going right.”

Lady Of Inishfree with winning connections
Lady Of Inishfree with winning connections (Alan Magee/PA)

Lady Of Inishfree broke her maiden in the best possible fashion when winning the valuable Series Final.

As the filly by Farhh only cost €8,500, she was allotted just 8st 10lb as the weights carried are determined by their sales price.

That looked pretty generous given that on just her second outing she had outrun her odds in the Listed Ingabelle Stakes at Leopardstown when fourth of 11, beaten just three lengths.

Ridden confidently by Hayes, Meade’s youngster travelled with great fluency through the race, but so did Ger Lyons’ Corporal Violette.

It soon became clear the winner would come from those two and it was Lady Of Inishfree (7-2) who proved the stronger, holding off the 11-4 favourite by half a length. Seeingisbelieving was two and a half lengths away in third.

“We’ve loved her all along and that’s why we ran her in the Stakes race. I think she’s very good and she’ll be better on better ground,” said Meade.

“There is no question in my mind that she is a Stakes filly.

“She was eligible for this race and was getting into it well, so we had to have it in mind. The prize money is very good.

“She won’t run again this season and there is a chance that she could be sold. If we have her next year, hopefully she will go for good races.

“One of the owners, Eoin Banville, is in hospital at the moment after getting a kick and knocking the top off his thumb. It’s after getting infected so this will give him a bit of a lift.

“We were beaten a short-head with Layfayette in this race two years ago, so it’s nice to win it.”

Earlier Dermot Weld’s Pearle D’or (13-2) made a winning debut in the Tifrums Irish EBF (C&G) Maiden – also ridden by Hayes.

“He’s a nice, big horse, still very raw. I said to Chris ‘take your time on him, he’ll be a bit backward but he’s been working very nicely and I think he’ll come home well for you’. That’s exactly what happened.

“That’s it for the year with him and let’s hope he makes into a nice three-year-old for us. He’ll learn plenty from that.”

Michael O’Callaghan is keen to take Siesta Beach (11-4) to Newmarket for the Bosra Sham Stakes after she was rewarded for a series of solid efforts when winning the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

Sacred Bridge strikes in Naas feature

Sacred Bridge maintained her unbeaten record and bagged the lion’s share of the huge prize-money up for grabs in the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas.

An impressive winner on her racecourse debut at the County Kildare circuit in June, the Ger Lyons-trained filly successfully stepped up to Listed class on her second start at Tipperary.

The daughter of Bated Breath was the 15-8 favourite to complete her hat-trick in this €300,000 contest – and after moving towards the front a a furlong out, she dug deep for Colin Keane to see off the challenge of Richard Hannon’s British challenger Bosh by half a length.

Ultramarine was best of the rest in third, with Ever Given – an impressive nursery winner at Goodwood Friday – a creditable fourth.

Shane Lyons, the winning trainer’s brother and assistant, said: “That was a tough ask with her penalty. Obviously we were attracted by this race with the sponsors, Ballyhane and Joe Foley, and the big pot.

“We’re glad it’s over. Colin said she’s versatile, five or six (furlongs), and she’s getting sharper with her runs.”

Sacred Bridge is likely to be step up to Pattern class on her next start.

“She’s in all the early closers, all the fancy races, and we’ll be campaigning her now in Group races,” Lyons added.

“It’s great to train for these people (Juddmonte) – the pedigrees are second to none.

“We’ll get serious now with the early closers she’s in and take it from there.”

Joseph O’Brien saddled the first two winners of the afternoon, with the Albula particularly impressive when making a winning debut in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

Joseph O'Brien is excited about Albula
Joseph O’Brien is excited by Albula (Simon Cooper/PA)

Seemingly unfancied at 12-1, the daughter of Galileo was good value for the winning margin of a length and a quarter over Dabana.

O’Brien said: “She won nicely and Declan (McDonogh) gave her a lovely ride.

“We liked her at home, I’m surprised that she won but we thought she’d run a nice race. She’s an exciting filly.

“She’ll step into a Listed or Group race now.”

O’Brien doubled up with the Shane Crosse-ridden Ulster Blackwater (5-2) in the Naas Race For Barretstown Children Fillies Maiden.

Sacred Bridge out to bag Naas pot

Sacred Bridge puts her unbeaten record on the line in the €300,000 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas.

An impressive winner on her racecourse debut at the County Kildare circuit in June, the Ger Lyons-trained filly successfully stepped up to Listed class on her second start at Tipperary.

A tilt at Group-race company beckons soon, but Lyons could not resist the opportunity to have a shot at Monday’s huge prize.

He said: “She’s in good form. It would be a nice next step for her, and then we can go back to the Stakes races.

“The prize-money is so good it makes sense to go this route first.”

Archie Watson’s Dusky Prince is one of five British challengers in a 24-strong field.

Since winning on his Brighton introduction, the Prince Of Lir colt has failed to land a telling blow in either the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom or the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot.

“Dusky Prince is a very solid colt,” said Watson.

“He won nicely at Brighton on his debut, and things just didn’t go his way since. He missed the break in the Woodcote, and it was horrible ground that day, and then things just happened too quick for him at Royal Ascot back over five furlongs in the Windsor Castle.

“The step back up in trip on Monday will be a help, and this was a race we were keen to support – and with Dusky Prince being by Prince Of Lir and the bonus for a winner by Prince Of Lir, it was certainly worth having a crack at.”

Dusky Prince is joined on the trip across by the Irish Sea by the Richard Hannon-trained Bosh, who is on a hat-trick following wins at York and Newbury.

Kevin Ryan saddles both Aleezdancer and Smullen, while Tom Dascombe has declared Ever Given – who was an impressive winner of a nursery at Goodwood on Friday.

Jessica Harrington is looking forward to running Albion Square, Bellabel and Tut Tut.

She said: “Albion Square was an impressive winner of his maiden at Navan and has run in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group Two Railway Stakes since, so this is a good opportunity. He’s got all the experience, so I hope he will run a big race.

“Tut Tut’s form has worked out very well. The only little concern might be the ground for her, because it was soft when she was second in Fairyhouse, but she is in good order.

“You can discard Bellabel’s last run. She ran well below par that day, but if she can reproduce her first run I would hope she could run into a place and pick up a bit of prize money.”

Ballyhane bid in Lyons’ sights for Sacred Bridge

Ger Lyons is eyeing the valuable €300,000 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas on Monday for his unbeaten filly Sacred Bridge.

Winner of both her starts to date, the Juddmonte-owned juvenile has created a good impression so far this season.

While Lyons is fearful of soft ground derailing his plans, the current good to firm ground is offering him hope.

“At the minute Sacred Bridge is scheduled to run,” said Lyons.

“She wouldn’t run on soft or heavy, but on summer ground she’ll run.

“She’s in good form. It would be a nice next step for her and then we can go back to the stakes races, but the prize money is so good it makes sense to go that route first.”

Lyons could also run course and distance winner Recurrent Dream while Jarvis would also run if making the cut.

“Recurrent Dream is by Elzaam, and so is eligible for the €50,000 Joe Foley is putting up if the winner is by a Ballyhane Stud stallion. He has won at Naas already and all things being equal will take his chance,” said Lyons.

“Jarvis is still in it also. He was second last time out at the Curragh. He’s probably too honest.

“I don’t think he’s a sprinter, in time he will want further but he won’t get seven furlongs by jumping and running the way he’s running. Hopefully he might get into the consolation nursery.

“It’s good money so we’re trying to support the race the best we can.”

Wren’s Breath is impressive at Naas

Wren’s Breath showed an impressive turn of foot to come from last to first and win the Yeomanstown Stud Irish EBF Stakes at Naas.

Henry de Bromhead’s three-year-old filly, who is blind in one eye, was second on her debut just 11 days earlier yet overcame her inexperience in superb style to claim this Listed prize over six furlongs in the hands of Gary Carroll.

The field split into groups from the start, with Dancin Inthestreet leading on the far side and More Beautiful prominent nearer the stands.

Wren’s Breath (17-2) was in the nearside group but was last of all with two furlongs to runs as the 13-strong field stretched out across the entire course.

The daughter of Elzaam hit top gear as they met the rising ground, and finished so strongly she was three-quarters of a length ahead of More Beautiful at the line – with favourite Teresa Mendoza two lengths away in third.

Carroll said: “She did that nicely. It was a big ask for her second run in a Listed race.

“She’s a filly that is blind in one eye – and when I was behind horses, till halfway, I wasn’t going anywhere.

“I’d say her spatial awareness with one eye is not great. But when I got out and got a bit of daylight she picked up very well and got to the line strong.

“She’s a nice filly – (and) there is more black-type to be got with her. I’d say she’ll learn to sprint, sharpen up, and make into a nice filly.”

Ladies Church ran out a ready winner of the Arqana Irish EBF Marwell Stakes, for trainer Johnny Murtagh.

The daughter of Churchill got off the mark on her second start at Tipperary three weeks ago, and stepped up on that effort to stamp her authority in this Listed contest over five furlongs.

Karl Burke’s British raider Sophie’s Star ploughed a lone furrow on the near side from the start, with the other five runners staying towards the centre of the course.

Pennine Hills took those along, but Ladies Church travelled well behind her before being unleashed by Ben Coen. The 3-1 chance asserted in the final furlong to score by two and a quarter lengths from Pennine Hills. Sophie’s Star stuck on to claim third place.

Coen said: “She was very good. Mark (Dobbin) is a new owner, and I’m delighted to get one for him – he’s invested a lot into Irish racing.

“She’s improved again from Tipperary. I think she’ll get six and I like her – I think she’s smart.

“She picked up, then idled a bit when she got there. I think she’s good – and she can only get better as well.”

Recurrent Dream made a bright start to his career with a smooth success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden – which opened the evening card.

Produced on the outside to challenge, the 13-8 favourite led half a furlong from home in the hands of Colin Keane to score by a length and three-quarters from Gwan So, for trainer Ger Lyons.

Shane Lyons, assistant to his brother, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with that.

“Vincent (Gaul, owner) had his full-brother Indicative Vote last year, and he’s also by Elzaam. We’ve been very lucky with Elzaam, and so has Vincent.

“He ran in this race to get him ready for the Ballyhane Stakes (at Naas on August 2). The way he did it there, he’s going the right way.

“He’s a lovely horse – we thought the trip would be below his best today, and he would lack experience, but he showed he’s a nice horse.

“He won with his ears pricked. He’s a big baby, and there is a lot of improvement in him. We look forward to getting him home now and see how much he improves.”

Sacred Bridge on course for Ballyhane Stakes

Sacred Bridge is likely to put her unbeaten record on the line in the 200,000 euros Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas.

The Ger Lyons-trained filly has won both her starts, including the Listed Tipperary Stakes, and connections are aiming her at the second running of the County Kildare track’s richest race early next month.

“We’ll see how she goes in the next couple of days, but we’re looking towards the Ballyhane at Naas,” said Barry Mahon, racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

“We were looking at the Marwell in Naas today – but because of the fact she won a stakes race on her last start, she would have had to carry a penalty.

“In fairness (as well), there’s a very good incentive with the valuable prize money for the Ballyhane.

“She gets the allowances, given the conditions of the race, so we said we’d aim towards that – given she’s won a stakes race.”

Sophie’s Star out to shine at Naas

Owner-breeder Nick Bradley is hoping Sophie’s Star can enhance her potential value as a broodmare with a prominent showing in the Listed Arqana Irish EBF Marwell Stakes at Naas.

Trained in North Yorkshire by Karl Burke, the Cotai Glory filly crosses the Irish Sea with a consistent profile, having finished out of the first two just once in six starts.

The Thirsk and Beverley winner was last seen filling the runner-up spot on her return to the Westwood just last week, but hopes are high she can pick make her presence felt in the Nick Bradley Racing colours on Wednesday.

Bradley said: “She’s a home-bred filly, so the breeder would be delighted if we could get some black type!

“It’s a six-runner race and it looks like she has a chance. Joseph O’Brien’s filly (Pennine Hills) made all over six furlongs last time and looks useful, but we think we’re pretty good as well.

“She’s very tough, this filly. I’ve run her every week, and she hasn’t been out of the first two since debut.

“I’d expect her to be there or thereabouts.”

Pennine Hills impressed on her racecourse debut at Fairyhouse, while Jessica Harrington’s Impeachd Alexander and the Johnny Murtagh-trained Ladies Church also line up off the back of victories.

Kimbah (Nigel Slevin) and Orinoco River (Donnacha O’Brien) are the other hopefuls.

A much bigger field of 14 runners is set to go to post for the other Listed race on the card – the Yeomanstown Stud Irish EBF Stakes.

On ratings the standard is set by Harrington’s Dickiedooda, with Ken Condon’s Teresa Mendoza and Back To Brussels from Fozzy Stack’s yard also in contention.

Hadman set to progress to better things after Naas triumph

Hadman could be stepped up in class after following up a narrow Curragh success in the Irish EBF Median Sires Series Race at Naas.

Trainer Joseph O’Brien may look at the Group Three Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh and the valuable Ballyhane Stakes back at Naas next month for the Starspangledbanner colt, who made all in this six-furlong contest.

Ridden by 5lb claimer Dylan Browne McMonagle, Hadman (2-1 favourite) kept on dourly to hold Geocentric by three-quarters of a length. Heart To Heart was a length and a half away in third.

“He’s improving away with each run and is a good, tough, solid horse,” said O’Brien.

“Dylan gave him a good ride and controlled the race. He fought on well.

“I’ve nothing in particular in mind, but maybe something like the Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh. That’s just over six furlongs and he’s already won at seven. Something like that might be a logical step for him.

“The Ballyhane Stakes back here could be another option and he might travel a bit later in the year.”

Storm Legend (9-2) is to continue his career in Hong Kong following his victory in the Naas Nursery Of Champions Race.

Unlucky in a Listed race at the Curragh last weekend, the son of Night Of Thunder gained compensation with a head verdict over the fast-finishing Acanella in the hands of Chris Hayes.

Trainer Fozzy Stack reports the three-year-old colt could run at Goodwood before heading to the Far East.

“The plan is for him to go to Hong Kong in August and he might run in the Group Three in Goodwood (Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes) on the way there to quarantine. It ties in as he has to be in Newmarket around the start of August,” said Stack.

“It’s nice to have a winner for that man (Boniface Ho Ka Kui). It was very kind of him to send me the horse after he was in John Oxx’s last year.

“I hope he’s lucky for him in Hong Kong and he could make into a Hong Kong Derby horse. He’ll definitely get a mile and he could get a mile and a quarter as there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree.”

Willow back to winning ways at Naas

Willow returned to winning ways with victory in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Naas Oaks Trial at Naas.

Last of 14 in the Oaks at Epsom, the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly tracked the pace set by April Showers, before leading with a furlong and a half to run.

April Showers did not go down without a fight, but it was 3-1 favourite La Petite Coco who posed the biggest threat as she finished strongly under Billy Lee.

Willow and Seamie Heffernan were not for passing, however, and the daughter of American Pharoah out of Peeping Fawn kept on all the way to the line for a half-length victory.

The 11-2 winner was Heffernan’s third chance in the race, after earlier defections which included La Joconde, who was 11th in the Oaks.

He said: “She won nicely. We thought she was a real good filly at the start of the year and it’s nice to win a nice race with her and hopefully she can progress.

“She arrived (on the scene) late last year so possibly she is going to arrive and be good late on this year.

“I had three rides in the race and I ended up winning it!”

The race was run almost 25 minutes after the advertised start time, with Gary Carroll having been unshipped from Holly Golightly, who was withdrawn.

The Royal Ascot-winning rider was treated on the track before being taken to hospital for further assessment.

Senior medical officer Doctor Jennifer Pugh said on the Irish Horseracing Board Twitter feed: “Following a fall in the starting area prior to Race 5, Gary Carroll has been taken to Naas Hospital for further assessment. Gary was fully conscious when leaving the racecourse.”

Sacred Bridge looks a filly to follow
Sacred Bridge looks a filly to follow (PA)

The Ger Lyons-trained Sacred Bridge is also bred to be smart and made a winning introduction in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

A full-sister to Viadera, now with Chad Brown and a Grade One winner in America having been victorious in Listed company when with Lyons, the daughter of Bated Breath was always travelling nicely for Colin Keane.

Picking up from the two-furlong pole, the well-backed 11-10 favourite got the better of the more experienced Agartha by a length and a half.

Shane Lyons, assistant to his brother, said: “It was a lovely performance and Colin was very kind on her.

“She was entitled to be green, which she was when she hit the front. She just got a little bit tired and it was a typical first run from one of ours.

“She will improve and Colin said she’ll get faster. She’ll come on a ton for it and we’re very happy to take baby steps.”

Royal Ascot one of the options for Hermana Estrella

A tilt at the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot will be considered for Hermana Estrella following her debut victory at Naas on Sunday.

The daughter of Starspangledbanner justified trainer Fozzy Stack’s decision to pitch her in at Group Three level on her racecourse debut as she got the better of several previous winners in impressive fashion.

While her 50-1 success was a surprise to many, Stack revealed it was her exciting homework which prompted him to run her at Pattern level at the first time of asking.

He said: “She’d been working well at home. She hasn’t been away to work or anything and hasn’t even worked on grass, so it was actually a very good performance.

“She’d shown plenty of talent at home. If it hadn’t worked out we’d have been left with egg on our face if she’d run very green, but it worked out well.

“She’s a smart filly.”

Hermana Estrella is likely to run in either the Albany next month or stay at home for the Group Two Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh.

“Royal Ascot would be a possibility, or maybe the race on Derby weekend here,” Stack added.

“It will be the Albany or that race, I’d imagine. We’ll take our time and talk to connections and see what everybody wants to do.

“She gets six furlongs well, so the soft ground in Naas might have helped on that front, but I don’t think she needs it soft.

“I’d like to think she could step up in trip for something like the Moyglare later in the season.”

Logo Hunter plunders Sole Power prize for Michael Browne

Logo Hunter continued his fine run of form when a conclusive winner of the Listed Sole Power Sprint Stakes at Naas for small-scale trainer Michael Browne.

A 5,000 guineas purchase for owner Patrick Moyles, the gelded son of Brazen Beau had finished in the frame on each of his four previous runs this term, previously winning the Cork Racecourse Handicap before being narrowly denied in the Committed Stakes at Navan – the latter performance being his trainer’s first ever runner in a Listed race.

This time the three-year-old was not going to be bettered and raced dominantly underneath Seamie Heffernan to triumph by four and a quarter lengths at odds of 11-2.

“I couldn’t describe the feeling – it’s unreal,” said Browne, who trains just five horses in Cashel, Tipperary.

“Seamie was adamant the whole time that he was a Group One sprinter and he’s right. I was doubtful with all the rain, but Seamie told me to run him.

“There is a race in Mallow in a bit over a fortnight’s time (the Listed Midsummer Sprint on June 9) that he’ll probably go for. I’d like to have run him in the Commonwealth Cup, but he can’t go there as he’s a gelding.

“That’s his trip, five furlongs, and he’ll be a lot better on better ground.

“He doesn’t need any work, just keep him fresh.

“Unfortunately he’ll probably be sold, but he’s given me some thrill up to now.”

The second Listed race on the card, the seven-furlong Owenstown Stud Stakes, went the way of Joseph O’Brien’s Snapraeterea and jockey Declan McDonogh.

The three-year-old made all and at one stage enjoyed a two-length lead, with runner-up Lustown Baba making a late challenge but ultimately finding O’Brien’s colt well able to hold on to a half-length victory.

Brendan Powell, assistant to O’Brien, said: “He really toughed it out there, he enjoys making the running and will stay a mile. He had a couple of runs and was fit and well.

“He settled there after a couple of furlongs and Declan has given him a brilliant ride.”

Andreas Vesalius led from the outset to take the five-furlong Coolmore Stud Calyx Race under Dylan Browne McMonagle, one of two winners for Joseph O’Brien.

The Caravaggio colt started at 11-4 and did not see any of his four rivals when taking the lead instantly and retaining it to cross the line a length and three-quarters ahead of 2-1 favourite Silver Surfer.

“Dylan has done the right thing as he’s sat in front and when he kicked, he had them at it behind,” said Powell.

“He said the further he went, the better he went.

“He’s a sweet horse, a lovely temperament and the most laid-back horse you will get.

“Dylan said he could go for a Listed race, he’s tough and will cope with most types of ground.

“That’s our first two-year-old winner and I think we have only run about three.”

Jessica Harrington’s Espouse was a 28-1 winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, laying down a late challenge to pass 5-1 shot Frill.

The three-year-old was making her second racecourse appearance after finishing seventh on debut at the same track last September, and was this time a three-quarter-length winner under Tom Madden.

“She was good over that trip and with the hood she gave me a great ride,” the jockey said.

“She was very professional and finished out the race well.

“Hopefully she is something to look forward to over a mile or a mile and a quarter.

“She was nearly a bit too relaxed with the hood on, it definitely helps her and the last furlong was her strongest part of the race.”

Pepperoni Pete then gave Harrington a double on the card in the Royal Ascot Trials At Naas Handicap at 12-1.

Surging up the centre of the track in the penultimate furlong, the five-year-old was able to pass 7-2 favourite Starting Monday to prevail by a length and three-quarters under Scott McCullagh.

Khartoum was a ready winner on his handicap debut when taking the one-mile Naas Handicap by two lengths for Aidan O’Brien.

The colt, who was a $1million purchase, was last seen finishing last of 10 in the Group Three Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

“He went to Newmarket and he was too fresh and did too much,” O’Brien said.

“He settled and quickened up well today, he won nicely.

“I always thought he wanted good ground, but he won his maiden on soft ground Ryan (Moore) said it is proper soft ground there today.”

McGuinness eyeing Ascot run for Naas hero A Case Of You

A Case Of You relished the soft ground at Naas to take the Group Three Goffs Lacken Stakes for Ronan Whelan and Adrian McGuinness.

The three-year-old bounced back from a disappointing performance in the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April, when he started as the 9-4 favourite.

This time the colt ran on the heels of the leading group when dropping back to six furlongs, eventually involving himself in a tight four-way finish and crossing the line a neck ahead of Mooneista.

Ger Lyon’s Power Under Me was third past the post, but following a stewards’ inquiry, he was awarded second place with Mooneista demoted to third after the pair got close together in the dying strides.

“We gave him a break after Leopardstown where we were a bit disappointed with him,” McGuinness said of the 7-2 shot.

“He pulled hard that day and we said we’d drop him back to sprinting.

“Obviously that is his forte, he had to dig deep there today and he’s tough. I think he’ll improve a little bit as I haven’t been very hard on him, I gave him an easy time after Leopardstown.

“It’s great for the lads and at least they will be able to go to Royal Ascot now.

“He handles cut in the ground, but I worked him up the Curragh the other day and he travelled sweet on nice ground.

“They all tell me all-weather horses go well in Royal Ascot and his Dundalk run with Logo Hunter and Mooneista is rock solid form now.”