A review of the pick of the action from Monday's meeting at Naas
Last Updated: 02/06/14 6:25pm
There was British interest in the Coolmore Stud European Breeders Fund Fillies' Sprint Stakes at Naas, but both Richard Hannon's Spirit Of Xian and the Richard Fahey-trained Realtra had to make do with minor honours behind 15-8 favourite Beach Belle.
Making her first appearance since winning the first two-year-old race of the season at the Curragh at the end of March, Kevin Prendergast's Beach Belle was ridden with maximum confidence by Chris Hayes and was still last heading towards the final two furlongs.
Hayes began winding up his filly passing the furlong marker and she responded generously to get up and beat Realtra by three-quarters of a length, with Stormfly narrowly denying Spirit Of Xian third place.
Prendergast said: "She's a very good filly. She probably won't run until the Phoenix Stakes or the Moyglare now. We'll go that way instead of travelling. You could get very fast ground at Royal Ascot and I wouldn't like to run her on hard ground.
"We've never had her on ground as quick as that before but she travelled well and it made no difference. They went very slow and she was free early on but Chris said when he met the rising ground he was never in any doubt he was going to win."
Aidan and Joseph O'Brien got off the mark for the afternoon as Due Diligence blew his rivals away in the Lacken Stakes.
Sent off the 5-4 favourite having opened his Irish account in a valuable course and distance handicap last month, the American recruit was quickly away and never saw another rival as he pulled three and three-quarter lengths clear at the line.
Sailors Swan filled the runner-up spot ahead of Shining Emerald in third. Group One-winning juvenile Sudirman ran well for a long way on his first start since finishing fifth in last October's Middle Park Stakes before eventually fading into fourth.
Sky Bet were sufficiently impressed to cut the winner to 20/1 from 66s for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and the trainer wasn't ruling that contest out of the equation.
O'Brien said: "You'd have to be delighted with that. The better ground the better it will suit him. He has the choice of the Jersey or the Diamond Jubilee (at Royal Ascot).
"He's a big striding horse with a big cruise and he's uncomplicated. He should come on again from that."
The O'Briens then doubled up with 6-1 shot Table Rock in the Follow Us On Facebook Handicap.
John Oxx's Hazaraba had earlier confirmed the promise of her encouraging juvenile debut with a dominant front-running victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.
The daughter of Oasis Dream placed third behind Vote Often on her introduction over the course and distance last October, a filly who has since won at Group level and finished third in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Sent off the 3-1 favourite for her seasonal reappearance, Hazaraba was bustled into an early lead by Declan McDonogh and quickened a couple of lengths clear early in the home straight.
Supposing did her best to reel in the leader heading towards the last of seven furlongs, but Hazaraba kept up the gallop all the way to the line and passed the post with two lengths in hand.
Oxx said: "She's a nice filly and ran well here, obviously. It was good form, third to Vote Often, but it was on soft ground and she doesn't like very deep ground. She was just been slow to come to hand, slow in her coat, and we had to wait on her.
"She's well-bred and is out of a mare that's doing well (Hazariya). We'd like to see another black type filly for the dam and she'll run in a Listed race next.
"She had an inside draw but didn't jump well and landed on all-fours, so Declan had to give her the gee up and found himself quickly in the lead. She's a versatile sort so it made no difference.
"There are mixed messages in her pedigree and I'm not sure how far she will stay but she showed enough pace for that trip."
Tested quickly bounced back from her slightly disappointing showing in the Irish Guineas with victory in the Owenstown Stud Stakes.
Dermot Weld's stable jockey Pat Smullen chose the three-year-old over stable companion Vote Often in the Curragh Classic, but while Vote Often picked up place prize-money, Tested was well-beaten in sixth.
Turned out just eight days later for this Listed event, Tested was given time to find her feet by Smullen and Ansgar briefly looked to have slipped the field when kicking clear off the home bend. However, Smullen got the 100-30 shot rolling two furlongs out and she mowed down the leader to take the prize by a length and three-quarters.
Slipper Orchid finished strongly to deny Ansgar the runner-up spot, with favourite Giovanni Boldini perhaps slightly unlucky in fifth having encountered a troubled passage.
Smullen said: "That was the reason I rode her in the Guineas. "Today's race worked out perfectly for her. She's a bit strong and a bit keen. They went very fast and got her off the bridle, so I gave her chance to finish.
"This filly has a bit of class and once I got her into top gear I always knew I was going to get there. Seven furlongs is her trip. It's not a great distance as there aren't many races at seven furlongs, but seven furlongs is her right trip."
Weld said: "I thought it was a very good performance. Naas has an excellent programme today and consequently they got the horses and the crowd.
"I thought it was a very true run race. Ansgar is a good, tough competitor and our filly came home well. It was a little soon (after the Guineas) but I was very happy with her. It was heavy ground in the Guineas. Pat went with her and she ran a very good race but didn't get home on the testing ground.
"I was a little concerned the ground might be a bit slow today as she's a very good moving filly. That's her trip, we know her right trip now - she didn't get home in the Guineas. We'll look for a Group race for her now. She's had three quick runs in succession so might get a break now and come back for something like the Fairy Bridge (Tipperary, August 28)."
Colin Keane produced Machete Mark with a withering run to take the New BBQ Evening Format At Naas Handicap.
Sent off at 11-2 for his first start since finishing down the field on the all-weather at Dundalk in October, the Ger Lyons runner quickened up smartly when the gap came on the far rail and swept to the lead. Shipyard did his best to make a race of it, but was a length and a quarter down at the line.
Lyons said: "He got all the breaks. He's a nice horse and Colin said that's as slow as he wants the ground. "It was a lovely day to give him a blow out. He has an entry for the Royal Hunt Cup and there was no point going to Ascot unless he was in that frame of mind.
"Hopefully he comes out of that OK and we'll discuss Ascot with David Spratt (owner). He travels really well and is a really smart horse on his day. "He's had two racecourse gallops and we knew he was in a good place.
"There was no way we were going to Ascot fresh. It was a nice pipe-opener and we'll see if he's good enough now."