ALMOST seven years to the day from recording his first success at Ballinrobe Paddy Twomey enhanced his remarkable strike rate at the track as Kirati Beach bounced back to form in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden over an extended nine furlongs. It was a sixth winner from just seven runners at Ballinrobe for Twomey whose first success came courtesy of the Jack Kennedy-ridden Ruler Of France at this fixture in 2015.

Kirati Beach shaped up nicely on her debut at Limerick two months ago. She was disappointing at Sligo next time but the half-sister to Sir Erec set the record straight in the colours of the Dowager Countess Of Harrington. The daughter of Kodi Bear made most of the running and pulled out plenty from the turn in to repel the favourite Explorers Way by a neck, bringing up 40 winners for her rider Billy Lee this season.

“It’s a beautiful facility here, the ground is always perfect and there’s always a great crowd,” observed the trainer. “This filly was very green on her debut and I was actually delighted with her run that day but things just didn’t happen for her at Sligo where she was keen in behind horses and emptied herself out.

“We gave her a month off and I thought this place would suit her. Ideally black type would be the aim but I’d like her to strengthen up a little bit and for now we will look for a handicap.”

Billy Lee completed his double aboard Hilary McLoughlin’s Ms Eagleton in the Eamon Sheridan Groundworks Maiden over an extended nine furlongs.

A fifth winner of a fine season for Hilary McLoughlin who has run just10 horses this term, the 71-rated Free Eagle filly was getting off the mark at the fourth attempt after runner-up finishes on her last two starts. The 6/4 favourite picked off the pace-setting True Artist heading towards the last furlong to prevail by a length and a half.

O’Brien and Coen continue excellent form

JOSEPH O’Brien and apprentice Jake Coen also enjoyed doubles over the course of the evening with the former completing his brace when Merroir made it back-to-back wins in the €25,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap over an extended mile and a half.

A very progressive three-time winner and stakes-placed last season, the Max Morris-owned five-year-old was running for the first time since October and turned out in fine shape under Dylan Browne McMonagle. On the approach to the straight Merroir (5/2) looked to be coming off third best in the battle for supremacy but when the front-running Willesee hung off the rail the top-weight seized upon this opportunity. She launched a steady effort against the far rail to get on top over the course of the last furlong to prevail by a length and a quarter.

O’Brien also landed the opening nine-furlong three-year-old claimer, sponsored by John Madden & Sons, as Dark Note justified 2/1 favouritism under Jake Coen.

The Teme Valley-owned son of Night Of Thunder had the form to suggest he had the winning of this race and he looked set for an easy success when striking the front heading towards the last couple of furlongs. A resilient Girl Crush kept him honest though and there was only three-parts of a length between the front pair at the line. Trainer Andy Slattery claimed the winner for €15,000 while John McConnell paid €4,000 for the third-placed Eagles Perch and €10,000 for the fifth-placed Together Aclaim.

Jake Coen was also successful aboard Patrick Magee’s Arch Enemy (10/3) in the 47-65 rated three-year-old Bay Leaf Handicap.

The Black Steel Square Syndicate-owned filly, who also won a Curragh nursery last August, came with a sustained charge in the straight which saw her edge out a game Butterfly Garden in a bobbing finish. A switch to juvenile hurdling (the first such race comes up much earlier than usual at Tipperary on Thursday) could be on the cards for the winner.

County scores again in Mayo

BACK at the scene of his only previous success in a bumper in July 2018, the Denise Foster-trained Pike County showed that he retains plenty of his old prowess as he got up late on in the 47-70 rated GAIN the Advantage Series Handicap over an extended mile and a half.

Mark Enright took his chance down the inner on the J.P. McManus-owned 16/1 shot and that move paid dividends as Pike County enjoyed a clean run through on the point of the bend to get on to the heels of the leaders. He soon switched out to challenge and it wasn’t long before he had the measure of Beer With The Boys who went down by a length and a half.

Tom Gibney followed up his win in Saturday’s Ulster Oaks by sending out Imposing Supreme (13/2) to take the Treacy’s Pharmacies Handicap.

A triple Galway Festival winner and certain to be heading back to Ballybrit next month, the Leonard Kinsella and Haigney Bloodstock-owned six-year-old looks as good as ever on this evidence.

Strong page

He took his time off a strong pace before coming through to lead over a furlong out and he reached the line a length and a half ahead of Talbot.

“I had my doubts about him getting the trip (extended nine furlongs) but Kevin (Haigney), who owns half of him with Leonard, was keen to come here. Kevin also owns Atavique who won the Ulster Oaks so it’s been a great couple of days for him. He and Leonard are two great owners to have,” remarked the trainer.