Tag Archive for: Willie McCreery

McCreery thinking big for Insinuendo

The Tattersalls Gold Cup is a potential next port of call for Insinuendo after pushing Classic heroine Mother Earth all the way at the Curragh on Saturday.

A winner at Group Three and Group Two level for Willie McCreery last season, Insinuendo made a promising start to the new campaign when beaten just three-quarters of a length by last year’s 1000 Guineas winner Mother Earth off level weights in the Park Express Stakes.

While Aidan O’Brien mentioned the Lockinge at Newbury as a possible target for the winner, McCreery is keen to keep his charge on home soil for the time being.

A return to the Curragh for the Tattersalls Gold Cup on May 22 could be on the agenda if ground conditions are in her favour.

McCreery said: “It was her first run of the season and we were very happy with her. She came out of the race well and we’re looking onwards and upwards.

“Ideally you’d have loved someone to have given her a lead the other day. She had to do all her own donkey work and it’s hard to beat a genuine Group One filly making your own pace.

“The whole idea this year is to try and get her Group One placed and see where we are from there.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go next – it depends on the ground really. The ground is after changing from soft to very good here in the last couple of weeks, so hopefully we get some Irish weather again.

“If we can get some cut in the ground that would open up more options. The Tattersalls Gold Cup is an option for her if the ground comes right for her, definitely.”

Insinuendo claims Curragh honours in Kilboy contest

Insinuendo claimed Group Two honours for Willie McCreery and Billy Lee in the Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh.

Already a winner at Group Three level having landed the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas in early May, the daughter of Gleneagles was last seen finishing fourth in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes three weeks ago.

Dropping back down in class, Insinuendo was the 11-8 favourite to get back on the winning trail and mowed down April Showers late to prevail by a length and three-quarters.

McCreery said: “This was always the plan after she won her Group Three. She’s a lovely filly and she did that well.

Insinuendo with connections at the Curragh
Insinuendo with connections at the Curragh (Alan Magee/PA)

“She’s in the Matron (at Leopardstown) and we might travel with her as well.

“Billy said she moved beautifully on the ground. He said it was a little bit quick coming down the hill, but other than that it was perfect.

“He said she travelled lovely through the race and always thought he was going to get to them. She just idled a bit when she hit the front.

“I wanted to give her time and Michael (Deegan, owner) has been very patient. It’s one of the first horses that he’s had with me so I’m delighted for him.”

McCreery hoping for Curragh rain as Lustown Baba takes Ballyogan test

Willie McCreery is praying for rain ahead of Lustown Baba’s bid for a third Curragh success in Wednesday’s Qatar Racing And Equestrian Club Ballyogan Stakes.

The four-year-old bolted up in handicap company at the Kildare circuit in October – and followed up in the Listed Testimonial Stakes just four days later.

She ran her best race of the season so far when a narrowly beaten runner-up to Snapraeterea in the Owenstown Stud Stakes at Naas on her latest outing and her trainer is hopeful of another bold showing – provided the ground is suitable.

McCreery said: “You’d hope she’d run a big race. We had soft ground, but we’re after having two beautiful days here and she does need a bit of cut in the ground.

“There’s meant to be a few local thunder showers tomorrow, so hopefully we get a few of them.

“She’s in good shape. You’d just love the ground to be on the soft side for her.”

The Rathbride handler also saddles Star In The Making in the six-furlong Group Three. She is rated 11lb inferior to her stablemate, however, and appears to have her work cut out.

“She’s got to improve and we’re just hunting for black type for her,” McCreery added.

“She’s a very honest filly and I think six furlongs is her trip.”

The likely favourite is Paddy Twomey’s Sonaiyla, who is also a dual Curragh winner and has never finished out of the first three in six previous appearances at the track.

The daughter of Dark Angel was beaten just a length into third place in the Group One Flying Five Stakes last autumn and can be expected to improve from her comeback third in the Greenlands Stakes less than a fortnight ago.

Other hopefuls include Ken Condon’s Thunder Beauty – last seen finishing down the field in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket – and her stable companion Teresa Mendoza.

The main supporting race on Wednesday’s card is the Listed Sky Bet Orby Stakes.

Joseph O’Brien’s Patrick Sarsfield is favourite with the race sponsors on what will be his first competitive outing since finishing second to the top-class Skalleti in the Prix Dollar at ParisLongchamp in October.

Aidan O’Brien is represented by Lough Derg, who has has finished behind the yard’s Derby favourite Bolshoi Ballet on his last couple of appearances, while Donnacha O’Brien runs Nicest, who was last seen placing third in the Cheshire Oaks.

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.”

Lustown Baba cruises to Curragh Listed victory

Lustown Baba handled the step up to Listed company with aplomb when cruising to victory in the TRM Waterford Testimonial Stakes at the Curragh.

Willie McCreery’s three-year-old filly had won a handicap at the track from a mark of 84 only on Sunday.

Raised 16lb in the ratings for that success, she looks set for another hefty hike – given the manner of her latest victory.

Settled off the pace by Leigh Roche, she steadily picked them off before joining Denis Hogan’s star and winner of the race last year, Make A Challenge.

Roche then needed to give the filly only a shake of the reins to leave Make A Challenge swiftly behind, winning by two and a quarter lengths.

Lustown Baba (5-2) well and truly falls into the category of ‘when a filly starts to improve you never know when they are going to stop’.

“That ground was holding today, but Leigh said she loved it,” said McCreery.

“I thought she was a bit too far back – but Declan (McDonogh who rode another McCreery, runner Downforce, who finished third)  said they went very hard early on, so it probably suited her.

“I thought she did it well there – she loved that ground and is an improving filly. She’s an exciting filly for next year.

“It was tacky today, (and) Leigh was out the back, but there is no muck on him.”

McCreery has taken a patient approach with Lustown Baba so far, and will continue to do so.

He added: “The (Back Road, owners) syndicate were patient with us last year and have been patient this year, because they were looking for races during the summer but I said ‘lads we can’t run this one on quick ground yet as she’s a big filly and needs more time’.

“Their patience has paid off. I’m delighted for Finn Sheedy, who bred her, as I think that’s the first black-type in the family.

“That’s it for the year – she’s had two quick runs. I thought she was far relaxed today, and what more could we ask of her?

“We’ll have plenty of time next year for her. She’s a fine, big filly.”

Epona Plays on top in Gowran Group Three prize

Epona Plays landed Group Three honours for trainer Willie McCreery and jockey Billy Lee in the Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes at Gowran Park.

Since shedding her maiden tag at the County Kilkenny circuit in July, the daughter of Australia had finished fourth in the Hurry Harriet Stakes at Gowran and third in the Snow Fairy Stakes at the Curragh.

Sent off a 9-2 chance for this nine-and-a-half-furlong contest, Epona Plays travelled kindly into the home straight and got the better of a final furlong battle with Etneya by a neck.

Market leader Ennistymon (2-1) – runner-up in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot and the Oaks at Epsom earlier in the season – was disappointing in first-time blinkers.

McCreery said: “I thought she was a decent filly last year and she ran a cracking race in Leopardstown.

“It’s taken her a while to get going, but she loves it here. She’s progressing well and they went a proper gallop.

“Billy said she was just behind the bit lovely all the way and when he asked her, she was always going to respond. He said she did it snugly in the end.

“I’m delighted for the owner/breeders Renzo Forni and his daughter Raffaello. That’s the fourth of that family that have won for me and the three fillies have all got black type.

“She had a little niggle earlier in the year that we have sorted out and she’s coming on the whole time. She’s a lovely, scopey filly and goes on any ground.”