Tag Archive for: Waterville

Hannibal Barca swoops for Gallinule glory at the Curragh

Hannibal Barca struck on his first run for Joseph O’Brien when claiming the Heider Family Stables Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh.

Fourth in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster for Brian Meehan, the Zoffany colt subsequently changed hands and joined O’Brien’s Kilkenny base in the autumn.

The 7-4 favourite for the Group Three contest under Shane Crosse, Hannibal Barca was a one-length winner as Johnny Murtagh’s Lyrical Poetry finished second and the Jim Bolger-trained Boundless Ocean came home third after meeting all sorts of trouble in running.

Hannibal Barca at the Curragh
Hannibal Barca at the Curragh (Gary Carson/PA)

The stewards looked into possible interference in the closing stages of the 10-furlong affair, but left the placings unaltered.

“He was obviously a good two-year-old, we just had a little hold up so we ended up starting today,” said O’Brien.

“I’m delighted to get the season started off nicely with him. Thanks to Mick (Donohoe, bloodstock agent) for trusting me with him and hopefully he’s a horse that can go forward from here.

“I thought he did well because I thought it set up for the horses closer to the speed. Shane had to move out to get a clear run and I thought he gave him a good ride the way the race worked out tactically.

“He hit the line well and I think it was a good enough performance. Coming here I wasn’t sure how far we would be going but looking at the race you’d be going further rather than shorter.”

When asked if he could take up his engagement in the Irish Derby, he added: “He also has options in Ascot and I’d imagine it will be one or the other.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Waterville remains a maiden after his third racecourse appearance ended in defeat as Vellner, trained by Paddy Twomey, landed the William Hill Lengthen Your Odds Irish EBF (C&G) Maiden.

Waterville was at one stage an Epsom Derby hopeful but was beaten five lengths on his debut at the Curragh and was then second next time out in a Leopardstown maiden.

Meanwhile Vellner finished fourth in two successive Cork maidens, but it was Twomey’s Galileo Gold colt who triumphed by one and a quarter lengths at the Curragh as Waterville finished third as the 10-11 favourite.

“He’s been green and his behaviour was terrible the first day. He improved a little bit the second day and I thought coming here today it would take a good one to beat him,” Twomey said of his 11-4 chance.

“My friend Adrian Costello bought him as a foal and the day he bought him I loved him.

“He’s a lovely horse and I’d say that’s only the start. We’ll see what happens now.”

Fozzy Stack’s Papilio could return to the Curragh for a Group-race assignment after winning the Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden at 9-1 under Wayne Lordan.

Papilio looks a filly of promise
Papilio looks a filly of promise (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Making her racecourse debut, the bay daughter of Starspanglebanner was not the quickest out of the stalls but made headway to race in mid-division and stayed on to prevail by a length and three-quarters.

“She’s a nice filly and she wasn’t getting any fillies’ allowance there,” said Stack.

“She’s worked well consistently, she’s probably a filly in time that will want seven or a mile to be fair to her. She’s out of a High Chaparral mare so hopefully she’ll stretch out a bit.

“She has a great mind and does everything very straightforward. We could probably look at the Silver Flash or the Balanchine Stakes back here.

“Wayne liked her, he said she hit a bit of a flat spot at the two pole and that he got there too soon. He said he got to the line without hitting top gear.”

Fumata too good for Waterville in Leopardstown contest

Fumata inflicted a second successive defeat on the highly-touted Waterville in the Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Memorial Maiden at Leopardstown.

Bred in the purple as a half-brother to multiple Group One-winning filly Sea Of Class, Waterville was being talked up as a potential Derby horse by trainer Aidan O’Brien even before his competitive debut.

The Ballydoyle handler confirmed a trip to Epsom was off the agenda after he could finish only third on his introduction at the Curragh last month, instead raising a Royal Ascot appearance as a possibility.

The Camelot colt was the 4-5 favourite to open his account at the second attempt, but while he made rapid ground from the rear to mount a challenge, he ultimately had no answer to the finishing kick of Jessica Harrington’s 12-1 shot Fumata, with two and a quarter lengths separating them at the line.

The winner had finished fourth behind the O’Brien-trained Stone Age on his debut at Navan in March.

“I’m delighted with him. He ran a great race the first day in Navan, but just got outpaced early on,” said Harrington.

“He was outpaced today and I’d say a mile and a half is his minimum trip, they went very hard.

“He’s a very big horse, he’s got a lovely pedigree and he’s a horse that’s probably going to stay in training as a four-year-old.

“He’ll turn into a nice staying horse in the end.”

Harrington and jockey Shane Foley made it a swift double as Yashin (11-4) took the following Fund A New Home For Festina Lente Handicap.

Corporal Violette leads the way at Leopardstown
Corporal Violette leads the way at Leopardstown (Brian Lawless/PA)

Corporal Violette opened her account at the third attempt in the John R Fitzpatrick Agricultural Contractor Maiden.

Beaten a neck and half a length when filling the runner-up spot in her two juvenile starts, the Ger Lyons-trained filly was the 4-6 favourite for her seasonal reappearance.

All In The Mind refused to go down without a fight, but Corporal Violette dug deep for Colin Keane to prevail by a head.

Lyons said: “She’s still a bit timid and there is still a lot of growing to do mentally.

“She did a lot of growing from two to three and it’s only in the last month she started showing us the ability that she showed at two.

“She’ll go up to a mile now and by the end of the year she’ll be running over a mile and a quarter.

“She won the race today by pure ability and the further she went, the better she was. I’d say there is a lot of improvement in her as she’s very much a work in progress.”

The Tom Mullins-trained Female Soldier was a surprise winner of the Clayton Hotel Leopardstown Fillies Maiden on her racecourse debut.

Female Soldier (left) on her way to victory
Female Soldier (left) on her way to victory (Brian Lawless/PA)

Widely unconsidered at 66-1, the daughter of The Gurkha finished with a flourish under Billy Lee to beat Zaniyka by a neck, with even-money favourite Ark only third.

“She was giving all the right vibes at home and I was hoping she’d run into a place. When I saw the field I thought it was a fairly hot maiden and fair play to her, she’s very decent,” said Mullins.

“She was able to beat Morning Soldier at home and she’d be getting 7lb from him in a maiden. He’s not too bad, he’s rated 87.

“I hope she takes it well, she should as she’s a strong-minded filly. You probably won’t see her out again for a few weeks at least. She’ll probably be sold.”

Waterville only third on eagerly-awaited debut at the Curragh

The much-talked-about Waterville could finish only third behind Glory Daze on his eagerly-awaited debut at the Curragh.

A half-brother to multiple Group One-winning filly Sea Of Class, Waterville has been the buzz horse at Ballydoyle this spring, with trainer Aidan O’Brien mentioning him as a potential Derby candidate.

It was no surprise therefore that the Camelot colt, who is already entered in the Dante, the Derby and the Irish Derby, was the 8-11 favourite for the TRI Equestrian Irish European Breeders Fund Maiden under Ryan Moore.

Settled in midfield for much of the race, Waterville showed signs of inexperience at times, but did manage to move closer to the leaders early in the straight.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien
Trainer Aidan O’Brien (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

He was briefly caught in a pocket and had to be switched wide to mount his challenge, but while he stayed on well it was just at the one pace and he was beaten five lengths.

O’Brien told Racing TV: “We were delighted with the run. I’m sorry he didn’t win, but he ran a lovely race.

“He was very green through the race and Ryan said it was a slow enough pace. He said he would have had to bustle him to get him out five furlongs out and he felt it wasn’t the right thing.

“He ran home very well and Ryan was very happy with the horse. He’s a horse with loads of class to come.

“The plan was if he won today and won well we’d look at a Derby trial and if that went well we’d have a look at the Derby, but now we won’t – we’ll go back for a maiden and then have a look at Ascot.

“He’s going to be a lovely horse, but he’s still a bit of a baby. As the year goes on he’ll turn into a lovely colt.”

Glory Daze, who ran three times as a two-year-old and was last seen finishing down the field in a Group Three at Leopardstown in October, was second best in the market at 9-2 for trainer Andy Oliver.

Gary Carroll guided the three-year-old to the front racing inside the final furlong and there did not appear to be any fluke about the way he readily pulled three and a quarter lengths clear.

Cougar, Waterville’s stablemate, was best of the rest in second.

Oliver said of the winner: “That was great. He’s a very big horse and he showed a lot of promise last year.

“He was unlucky on his second start in Navan when he got trapped on the rail. He actually ran very well in the Eyrefield Stakes when he got badly hampered. That looked like it was going to be a good run.

“He’s improved over the winter and we expected him to go well, but we thought he might need the run. Everything went well for him and Gary gave him a lovely ride.

“He’s still got a lot to learn, Gary said he still rode green. He loved him and we’re delighted with that.

“We haven’t any entries and we’ll make a plan from here, but he looks like a horse that will definitely have to step up in class.”