Mighty Blue dominates Vintage Tipple Stakes

Mighty Blue produced a dominant display to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Vintage Tipple Stakes at Gowran Park.

Joseph O’Brien’s dual-purpose mare finished third at the Cheltenham Festival on her penultimate start, but was slightly disappointing when favourite to make a winning return to the Flat in last month’s Noblesse Stakes at Cork.

However, stepping back up in distance for this Listed assignment, Mighty Blue travelled strongly on the heels of the leader before moving to the front two furlongs from the finish.

From that point the 6-1 shot never looked in any real danger of being caught – really asserting in the closing stages to seal a seven-and-a-half-length victory under Dylan Browne McMonagle.

Outsider Lismore held on for second, just ahead of Yaxeni in third and Princess Zoe in fourth.

O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell said: “It was a good performance. She’s a good, tough filly.

“She’s been on the go all year – she ran well at Cheltenham and ran a nice race at Cork, where the ground was probably a bit quick for her.

“Dylan said she travelled away, got a lovely lead – and the further she went the better she won.”

The testing conditions played to the winner’s strengths, and Powell added: “She has plenty of size to her and she’s still a novice next year over hurdles, which is amazing really when you think of it.

“I think the ground is the key to her – she loves soft ground.

“I’d say Joseph will give her a holiday when she needs it, but she’s not showing any signs of it at the moment.”

Too Soon To Panic was a second authoritative Listed winner on the card, in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes for trainer Fozzy Stack and jockey Chris Hayes.

The four-year-old, like Mighty Blue well beaten in the Noblesse Stakes last time, had no trouble with this drop back to nine and a half furlongs – winning by two and three-quarter lengths at 12-1.

Hayes had her in front early, soon settled in behind and then took over again from favourite French Fusion two furlongs out before scooting clear – with Empress Josephine eventually keeping on best of the rest to take the runner-up spot.

The winning jockey said: “She deserved that. That’s a serious piece of training and placing, I think.

“They kept her in training this season with the hope of getting black-type and to try and find a race like that.

“She’s a valuable asset now and has her job done, so I don’t know what Fozzy will want to do. It was a brave call, and good placing.”