IT came as no surprise that Aidan O’Brien didn’t put the feet up on his 53rd birthday and the champion trainer was on hand to saddle a double highlighted by the victory of Toy in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes.
The blue-blooded daughter of Galileo, a sister to four Group 1 winners including Gleneagles, was adding further blacktype to her already impressive page having finished second to Magical Lagoon in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks.
Wayne Lordan had the easy-to-back 5/2 favourite prominent throughout and she gamely held off a number of rivals inside the final furlong eventually beating Sunset Shiraz by half a length, with Maristella the same distance further back in third.
“We are delighted with her as she is coming back off a break and that is why we went to a mile. We had one eye on America and if she was going there she needed a run,” said O’Brien. “We were thinking of the Fillies & Mares at the Breeders’ Cup so we’ll see how she comes out of this. She’s an important mare so may not stay in training next year, but we’ll see what the lads want to do.
“She’s a typical Galileo filly in that she doesn’t want to get beat. Wayne was very happy with her and gave her a great ride. Obviously it wouldn’t be her ground but she has a bit of class.”
The opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden looked a straightforward task for Dame Kiri (2/7fav) and so it proved as the daughter of Justify stretched right away for Seamie Heffernan inside the final furlong to score by 10 lengths.
O’Brien said: “I’m delighted with that and she’s getting stronger. I’d say the Justifys are not two-year-olds at all and they want a bit of time. She is a filly that is going to get a mile next year and could even get a mile and a quarter. She definitely has class and I’d say she will start off in a classic trial next season.”
Lisieux was the outsider of the field at 12/1 in the Irish EBF Auction Series Nursery but the Ado McGuinness-trained filly belied that position by quickening up nicely inside the final 150 yards to beat stablemate Distillate by a two and a half lengths.
“She’s a filly that we bought for 10 grand at the Breeze-Up in Goresbridge and has taken a bit of time to come to hand,” said McGuinness’ assistant Stephen Thorne. “She was an atypical breezer in that she wasn’t ready to run. She was fizzy and we had to let her down and give her time.
“She has pretty much learned on the job from run to run and the plan was to come here with a huge pot of money for the grade of the race. It’s a fantastic result and she is owned in partnership by Shamrock Thoroughbreds and Mr Augustin-Normand who is a big supporter of the stable as well.”
GER Lyons also headlined a 35/1 training double with a listed success as Yaxeni made all in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Bluebell Stakes.
Term Of Endearment looked a big threat looming up about 150 yards out but the SBA Racing’s mare dug deep for Colin Keane in the closing stages to prevail by half a length. The pair pulled five lengths clear of One For Bobby in third.
“The Finale Stakes on the last day (of the flat turf season) here could be an option but this will be her final year and it’s going to be very hard to replace her,” said Shane Lyons of the 2/1 favourite.
“Other horses come to her and she grinds them out, she breaks their hearts. She always seems to have something left.”
The David Spratt-owned Zola Sakura (11/1) had things much easier in the following Tote Guarantee On All Irish & UK Races Apprentice Handicap, making most of the running and drawing right away from over a furlong out for a facile eight-and-a-half-length win in the hands of Jack Kearney.
“Jack said she got a freebie in front and he kept taking breathers which is very intelligent by him,” Shane Lyons said.
“Jack has joined us mid-summer. He’s still at school but is a good kid and loves being around Colin and Gary (Carroll) learning plenty. This filly has come back fresh off a break and loved that ground.”
JESSICA Harrington was another trainer in double form on the day successfully teaming up with Shane Foley as Polar Bear and Panic Alarm completed a 19/1 brace.
Panic Alarm (4/1) enjoyed a great payday in the €120,000 Irish EBF Auction Series Race Final, although victory appeared unlikely over a furlong out. However, the Hronis Racing-owned gelding soon responded to Foley’s urgings and finished to such effect that he had two lengths to spare over Goa Gajah at the line.
“They went a million and Shane said he was going as fast as he could off such a strong pace,” said a delighted Harrington. “Two furlongs down I thought he had no chance but Shane said he hadn’t really gone for him. He’s still very green and hung in behind but did it well in the end.”
Polar Bear (3/1) opened his account at the ninth attempt with an authoritative display in the Tifrums Irish EBF (C&G) Maiden, going clear from well over a furlong out to score by four lengths from Son Of Sampers.
The Commonstown trainer said: “He deserved that and has been knocking on the door the whole summer. It’s great for Fiona (Carmichael, owner) and Shane said he was tanking the whole way. He’s in the sales and we’ll have to have a conference to see what we’re going to do. He had a touch of sore shins during the year but has strengthened up a lot now.”
Gavin Cromwell, who sent out two winners at Cork, made it an across-the-card treble on the day as Earls completed a four-timer in the concluding Congratulations To Naas GAA Senior Football County Champions Handicap. Gary Carroll’s mount has the canny habit of not winning too far and held on well to beat Blind Beggar by a head.
“He’s a real little warrior and loves that soft ground. I wasn’t sure about dropping back to six and we were half tempted to put the blinkers back on him. As Gary said he was in front way too soon but at least with the blinkers off he could see the other horses,” said Cromwell of the Martin Sheridan-owned 7/2 favourite.