THE Algarve lit up the bank holiday meeting at Galway with an impressive front-running performance in the opening fillies’ maiden on the card.
The beautifully bred daughter of American Pharoah and dual classic winner Imagine was making her third career outing and took another step forward.
Seamie Heffernan was soon in front on the filly, in the David Nagle colours, and the 5/4 favourite found plenty in the closing stages when asked for an effort.
Newcomer Native Queen emerged as a danger in the straight but The Algarve found another gear late on to pull away for a two-and-a-quarter-length success.
Heffernan had rode the winner’s dam to his first classic success in the 2001 Irish 1000 Guineas, and he said afterwards: “She is a gorgeous filly who needed two runs because she was a bit goofy.
“I won a classic on her mother and was placed in a classic on her brother (Van Gogh). She is a lovely filly with a big future.”
The connections of Pita Pinta had their patience rewarded handsomely after the Fozzy Stack-trained filly recorded her second win of the season in the Galway Handicap, over just shy of a mile and a half.
The daughter of Sir Percy sprang a 20/1 shock at Navan five days previously but went to post 9/4 favourite to defy a 6lb penalty.
Chris Hayes was rowing along in third place turning for home but his mount picked up strongly in the straight to lead inside the final furlong and post a comprehensive five-length success.
The winning rider, carrying the colours of Sir Francis Brooke, said: “We’ve had very patient owners because of the dry summer and she grows a leg on that ground.
“I thought she was really well placed by Fozzy. She is out of a good jumping mare so he said she might go jumping, so we’ll see.”
NATHAN Crosse had a good trip to the west, partnering a double on the card courtesy of 11/8 favourite Mister Wilson and 6/1 shot No Memory.
The former was another recording a quick follow-up success after his win at Gowran six days previously.
The Paul McEnery-trained gelding made all for a convincing three-length win over Lexi’s Dream in the seven-furlong heat.
“I think on top of being hardy, he is better than we thought he was and is probably good,” said the owner and trainer’s son Billy.
“He has done more than we expected and something like the Madrid Handicap could be an option next year, if he went up (in the ratings).”
Crosse completed his brace later on the card when No Memory also ran out a good winner of the first division of the 45-65 event over just shy of a mile and a half.
The Liam O’Brien-trained filly swooped into the lead turning for home and went on to post a two-and-a-half-length success.
The winner had hit the headlines at Listowel last month after a controversial non-trier verdict which was subsequently overturned.
Crosse said: “She is a lovely big mare, is good and honest and I was a little bit further back than I’d have liked but she has a good turn of foot in fairness to her. She won well.”
The second division of that race was claimed by the John Murphy-trained Vita Veritas who prevailed after a good duel with Walnut Beach in the closing stages.
Shane Foley led narrowly, turning for home on the 13/2 shot and she had to dig deep to secure a three-quarter-length victory.
“She loves the ground which is a big help. We went good and hard and I let her warm into it early and she has toughed it out well,” reported Foley.
SIOBHAN Rutledge was delighted to get Mokhalad back in the winners enclosure after he ran out a game winner of the Barna Recycling Handicap.
The John McConnell-trained gelding pulled out all the stops to repel Plunkett by three-parts of a length in the seven-furlong contest.
Rutledge said: “That is a very special one as the Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate have been a big supporter of John the last few years.
“He has been drifting in and out of form but that’s the first time he has sealed the deal since he came to John’s.”
Earlier on the card Big Island was another to dig deep when claiming the KONE Handicap under Dylan Browne McMonagle.
The John Feane-trained gelding led a furlong out in the mile contest and held Cisco Disco by half a length in a tight finish.
“He ran a cracker in a 0-100 the last day when a couple of pounds out of the handicap and we thought the ground would suit here,” said Feane, who trains the winner for Reginald Roberts. “He likes a cut in the ground and hopefully he could be an Irish Lincoln horse next year.”
Shabaya gained valuable winning brackets for Dermot Weld when claiming the Corrib Foods Products Maiden under Colin Keane.
The Aga Khan-owned filly showed good determination to chase down Inveterate inside the final furlong and get to the front close home for a half-length success.
“She got through the ground although she’ll probably be better on a nicer surface,” said Keane afterwards.