Beach Belle strikes on debut in Curragh opener
A review of the rest of Sunday's action from the Curragh as Beach Belle won the Tally Ho Stud EBF Maiden.
Last Updated: 23/03/14 6:08pm
Kevin Prendergast and Chris Hayes combined to clinch the opening race of the Irish Flat turf season at the Curragh as Beach Belle made a winning debut in the Tally Ho Stud European Breeders Fund Maiden.
A field of nine two-year-olds went to post for the five-furlong heat, with Alertness the 7/4 favourite to give trainer Jim Bolger his fourth successive victory in the race.
Beach Belle was next best in the market at 7/2 and travelled strongly on the outside of the field before being delivered to challenge with a furlong to run.
Bwana tried to make a race of it in the closing stages, but Beach Belle was well on top at the end, scoring by two lengths. Primo Uomo ran with credit in third, with Alertness fourth.
Beach Belle is a daughter of Beach Bunny, who won three races for Prendergast and owner Lady O'Reilly and was also beaten a short head by Dar Re Mi in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes five years ago.
Prendergast said: "She's quite smart, although I don't know how she'll do when the ground dries out a bit. She's been quite good from the first bit of work she's done and she may run in the Marble Hill Stakes back here, although I'd have to discuss it with the owner."
The Charles O'Brien-trained Iveagh Gardens proved far too good for her rivals in the Elusive Pimpernel Maiden.
Runner-up on her only appearance as a juvenile last year at Navan, the JP McManus-owned filly was a 6/1 shot for her return to action and got away smartly from her stands side draw.
While most of her rivals were starting to feel the pinch, Iveagh Gardens was still hard on the bridle two furlongs down and quickened up smartly once asked to lengthen by Fran Berry, coming home with four and a half lengths in hand.
Tango Time and O'Brien's Supernatural finished second and third respectively, with hot favourite Rousayan a disappointment.
O'Brien said: "I am a big fan of the stallion (Mastercraftsman), they've got great attitudes. I thought she'd (Iveagh Gardens) done well over the winter, so I was hopeful.
"I pressed a bit into this, but when I looked at the programme there are so few sprint maidens. With a filly you are looking for black type and it's a possibility she'll come back to Leopardstown next week for the 1,000 Guineas Trial over seven (furlongs).
"She's not really one I'd like to run back that quick, so I'll have a look at the programme and see what the options are. I think she's got a bright future."
Great Minds ran out a decisive winner of the Trinity Racing Society Handicap in the hands of Wayne Lordan.
Beaten a nose and a neck on his final two starts last year, Tommy Stack's four-year-old was 9/2 joint-favourite for this six-furlong test along with last year's winner Srucahan.
Great Minds travelled like much the best horse in the field and showed a potent finishing kick to seal a two-and-a-half-length verdict.
Srucahan ran his best race for a while in second, with his stable companion Caprella third.
Stack's son and assistant, Fozzy, said: "He was a bit unlucky at Navan last year where he got mugged on the line and then we probably ran him back too quick at Redcar.
"He wants a dig in the ground and if we get a wet summer he'll be all right."
Lordan bagged his second winner of the afternoon as he punched out Fly To The Moon to victory in the Johnny Murtagh Lifetime Achievement In Racing Madrid Handicap.
Only the Weld-trained Go For Goal could go with David Wachman's runner heading inside the last of seven furlongs, but 7/1 shot Fly To The Moon saw him off fairly comfortably by a length.
Third Dimension, the 7/2 favourite, was third.
Wachman said: "Wayne gave her a great ride. She was stakes-placed, so she probably deserved to win that."
Lordan said: "The ground is always a bit drier on this side (of the track). They left me alone a bit in front, which was a help.
"She's also strengthened up a bit from last year."
The concluding Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden went to Jim Bolger's newcomer Answered (2/1), ridden by Kevin Manning.
Bolger said: "He had a setback last September and we just missed getting him out last backend.
"I'm hoping he'll be back here in May (for the 2,000 Guineas) and we'll look at a Guineas trial next."