THE country’s top female sprinter, Romantic Proposal, could be set for a momentous campaign on the evidence of her imperious return in the Listed Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Woodlands Stakes.
On her first run since last October, the Flying Five Stakes heroine was allowed to go off at 3/1, but she produced a display in keeping with her position as the only Group 1 winner in the field to continue a superb start to the season for Eddie Lynam.
The Clipper Logistics-owned six-year-old tanked through this five-furlong dash for Chris Hayes as the three-year-old Geocentric, who ran a fine second, cut out the pace.
From some way out, Romantic Proposal had matters in hand and picked up smartly to lead inside the final furlong for a decidedly cosy three-quarter-length victory.
“I thought she’d need the run but she was a Group 1 filly in a listed race,” said Lynam.
“I’m delighted and hopefully she’ll come forward and progress through the season. Chris was very pleased her and I must say they have done a great job on the ground.
“We are working towards Royal Ascot with her but it will either be the Duke Of York or the Greenlands Stakes next.”
Johnny Feane opened his account for the season when Ano Syra (11/1), a winner of a Dundalk maiden on her most recent start in January, won the near six-furlong three-year-old handicap.
The Kodiac filly was drawn well away from the trail-blazing Little Queenie and found herself with several lengths to make up on that rival approaching the last furlong.
However, she picked up very nicely for Kevin Manning and finished off her race with great purpose to hit the line a length and a quarter ahead of Jupiter Express. She could return to this course and distance early next month for the €45,000 Irish Racing Writers Handicap.
The Thomas Dowling-trained Mullacash Buzz (9/1), who notched up two wins at Dundalk over the course of the winter season, made a successful switch to turf with an all-the-way success in the first division of the 47-65 rated mile handicap.
Jack Cleary’s mount kept the chasing Lucky Number at bay for the duration of the straight to prevail by half a length. The Martin Flinter-owned winner is now set for a break.
THE last domestic flat meeting before this weekend’s classics saw Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore strike an ominous chord as they combined for a treble which followed on from the trainer’s five-timer at Navan on Saturday.
The hat-trick was bought up by Ivy League who followed up his maiden win at Dundalk in the €45,000 Blackwater Handicap for three-year-olds over a mile.
The 100/30 shot looked quite raw when landing his maiden and that was again the case here as he drifted right once hitting the front a furlong out. Ivy League was still much too strong though and the 84-rated son of Galileo reached the line three and a quarter lengths ahead of Fiach McHugh.
“He’s a big powerful horse who is going to progress and I would think he’ll go for a stakes race next,” stated the trainer.
The Ballydoyle trainer had earlier made it five winners from seven juvenile runners this season when Deneuve bagged the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden over just short of six furlongs.
A daughter of No Nay Never and the smart Actress, the 13/8 favourite was always well positioned in the front rank but it was only in the final stride that she found a way past fellow newcomer Commanche Country.
“She was babyish enough and had a little hold up six weeks ago so is just ready to come racing. We felt the experience would do her the world of good and Ryan was very happy and felt there should be plenty of progress from her,” reported O’Brien.
Emily Dickinson, a daughter of Dubawi and Chicquita, supplied the other leg of the treble in the 10-furlong fillies’ maiden.
As she looked to build on an eye-catching run in Leopardstown, the 11/10 favourite had plenty to do early in the straight but she started to motor inside the last quarter of a mile and her sustained charge saw her edge out Red Azalea in the final yards.
The Lingfield Oaks Trial is among the options open to this filly.
Notable night as Lupini
raids with smart double
IT was a memorable evening for Craigavon-based trainer Natalia Lupini as she recorded the first double of her career and both her winners were partnered by Wayne Lordan.
The first leg of the brace came courtesy of the stable stalwart Blairmayne (20/1) in the near six-furlong handicap where the Raintree Racing Partnership-owned gelding was notching up his seventh career success some six years after he was first successful.
He made all the running against the far rail to defeat Additional by a length and a quarter.
The likes of the Scurry and Bold Lad Handicaps later in the season are likely to feature on the winner’s agenda.
It was then the turn of the Lordan-ridden Magic Charm in the second division of the 47-65 rated mile handicap.
The comparatively lightly raced six-year-old was well drawn in stall one and made the most of the advantageous starting position by making all the running to reward those that saw him returned a strongly supported 11/4 favourite.
Magic Charm carries the colours of Milena Mocchetti and should be able to win again in this grade.