BILLY Lee stole the show on the final day of the May Festival with a treble which featured two winners for Willie McCreery headed by a victory for the 100-rated Cigamia in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Fillies Race which the trainer was winning for the third time in the last six years.

This mile contest has quite an impressive recent role of honour and the Flaxman Stables-owned daughter of Karakontie was returned at 1/4 under Lee to follow up a good second in the Group 3 Athasi Stakes.

Cigamia did have to work somewhat to get the better of the front-running Alizarine but she got on top nearing the last furlong to carry the day by three-parts of a length.

“I’m happy she’s won on ground she would have hated and she toughed it out well. The ground was a big concern,” said the trainer. “She’s a lovely filly and I’d say we will look towards the Sandringham at Royal Ascot now.”

There was further joy for the McCreery-Lee axis as All Lies Ahead picked up the Killarney Racegoers Club Maiden for older horses.

This Sarah Hyland-owned four-year-old daughter of Make Believe made a belated but promising start to her career with a fourth to Needle Lace at Limerick last month and she built on that run with a nice effort.

Travelled well

The 3/1 shot travelled well in second spot before moving to the front a quarter of a mile out and she kept on well to defeat the 80-rated True Artist by a length and a quarter.

“She’s a backward filly who just needed some time but she had a nice first run and she’s done that well. She loved the soft ground and she’s had two relatively quick runs so we might give her a chance before she runs again,” commented the trainer.

The Billy Lee treble was brought up by the Paddy Twomey-owned and trained Beamish (4/1) who looked a horse of some potential in the Geaney & O’Neill Commercial Mowers Ltd Race over a mile-and-three-quarters.

This four-year-old son of Teofilo hadn’t been seen since making a winning debut at Leopardstown last June but defied that absence in style.

He was travelling conspicuously well turning for home and asserted approaching the last furlong for a smooth two lengths triumph over the 87-rated Ebendi and with the very smart jumper My Mate Mozzie a further three and a half lengths back in third.

“When he won last year he just got a setback and it held him up for the year. He has been training lovely at home and he handled nice horses pretty easily there,” stated Lee.

“I was worried about the ground because he had won on quick ground and kept him out wide as much as I could.”

Halford from Start to finish

THE evening began with a taking winner for Michael Halford as Start Line (4/1) progressed from a nice debut run at Limerick to register a clear-cut success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden over a mile.

The Nasir Askar-owned and Shane Foley-ridden son of Rock Of Gibraltar made the running at a steady pace before being joined by Culcor turning for home.

Start Line raised his effort in fine style once pressed though and galloped on strongly to score by four and a half lengths.

“He had a nice first run (seventh to Baroque Artist) and the step up in trip to a mile was always going to help him and I’d say he appreciated the ease in the ground,” stated Foley. “I think he could be a nice, fun horse and he’s got plenty of size and scope.”

Joe Murphy supplied a very well-backed winner of the Irish Examiner Handicap for three-year-olds as Silken Ladder justified 7/2 favouritism having been as big as 20/1 when betting on the race opened.

Plenty of promise

The No Nay Never filly, who was ridden by Gary Carroll and carries the colours of Tom Egan, had shown plenty of promise in a couple of her maiden runs and looked right at home on her first try in handicap company.

Over the course of the last furlong, she got the better of the game front-runner Elmos Fire to prevail by three-parts of a length. “It was her first handicap run but it was a three-year-olds-only so we were all in the same boat and finding out about them. She enjoyed the cut in the ground today,” remarked the trainer’s son Joe.

“That’s her trip and a bit better ground would be no harm to her. She will be a nice filly for the rest of the year.”

Quartz clears away

CLEAR Quartz put the aberration of standing in the stalls at Gowran Park last time behind him to strike at 14/1 in the 47-65 Killarney Outlook Handicap.

Gavin Ryan’s mount surged to the front approaching the last furlong and kept on strongly to dish out a four-length beating to the favourite Stay Local. Gavin Ryan was also on board when this Jean Bird-owned gelding struck at Fairyhouse in October 2020.

“I don’t know what happened to him the last day, it was just one of those things. He got a fright in the stalls and the stalls handlers had to come in and help but it was just he got a fright,” reported Mark Fahey. “The rain came in time, he enjoys soft ground and when others are struggling he thrives on it.”

The lightly-raced Monty’s Way (10/1) made his first start since October a winning one in the 50-80 rated Celtic Steps Handicap over an extended two miles which brought up an across the card double for Joseph O’Brien.

The Newtown Anner Stud-owned four-year-old got a dream run through on the inner under Mikey Sheehy to lead approaching the final two furlongs and he maintained an unfaltering tempo to defeat Away To Sea by two lengths and make it two wins from just six career starts.