COLIN Keane rode a double at Cork on Friday evening, highlighted by the win of British raider Clarendon House in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Midsummer Sprint Stakes. Trained by Robert Cowell, the Middleham Park Racing VIII owned 2/1 favourite quickened clear inside the final furlong to win easily by two and three-quarter lengths.

The winning rider later said: “On his York run, he looked very good and today’s race went smoothly. He travelled very strong, they probably weren’t quick enough to bring him along to be honest and when I asked him, he quickened up well under hands and heels.  He is a level above those horses. I’ve had a few rides for Robert and have had a few near misses so it was nice to get a winner for him. It’s nice to get winners for these English trainers when they come over and Ruaidhri (Tierney, agent) was obviously on the ball.”

Opening leg

Keane was completing a double, having earlier partnered the Ger Lyons-trained Babouche to make a winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden. Carrying the colours of Juddmonte the 5/6 favourite stayed on strongly inside the last furlong to win by five lengths.

Assistant Trainer Shane Lyons reported: “She is a nice filly, is obviously well related and had been doing everything nicely at home. She has had to do it the hard way which wasn’t fair on her but in fairness, she did it with her ears pricked. Colin was brilliant on her as he didn’t take any chances.

“We’ll see how she comes on - she’ll tell us, and she is in the Balanchine (Airlie Stud) Stakes in two weeks time. We’ll speak to Barry (Mahon, racing manager) and the family and will fill them in on how she is. It was her first time ever seeing grass, we like her, she’ll come on immensely and we’ll let her do the talking.”

Sumiha smashes Munster Oaks

DERMOT Weld and Chris Hayes combined to win the featured Group 3 Darley Munster Oaks Stakes with 11/8 favourite Sumiha. Owned by the Aga Khan, the four-year-old ran on inside the final furlong to prevail by a length and a quarter.

Following the race ,Weld’s son Kris reported: “It was run at a good gallop and was a true test but she is a talented filly. It was lovely to win this Group race and she has never run a bad race in her life.

“She deserved to win a race of that nature and is a lovely, kind-natured filly. She has had three relatively quick races now so we’ll freshen her up and look to the autumn. We’ll review things and come up with a few options later in the year.”

Big one

Young apprentice Rory Mulligan enjoyed his biggest win to date when getting 12/1 outsider La Dame Blanche up close home to land the Cork Derby (Premier Handicap). Despite being wrong at the weights, the Willie Ross-trained filly showed great heart to score by a head from Zoffman.

Owner Dermot Kilmartin said: “I knew she’d come on from last Saturday’s run which was her first run of the season and we took a punt by running her from out of the handicap. The extra two furlongs suited, she settled great and the young lad gave her a super ride. Including Rory’s 7lb claim, she was only 5lb out of the handicap. William took back out the licence a couple of weeks ago, we have been together with pre-trainers for a while and I’m delighted for him too.”

Bold Optimist gave Danny McLoughlin a second winner since taking out his licence when staying on best to take the Sign Up To Our Newsletter Handicap. Sent off a well supported 11/2 chance, the four-year-old won by a length under jockey Ben Coen. Curragh-based McLoughlin reported: “That’s my second winner and my previous win was also for this horse’s owner Chris Mullins, who has been good to me and has also been lucky.

“After I gave Bold Optimist a break at the end of last year, he was showing loads of speed but at Naas (in May), he was on his head the whole way but still came home well to finish fifth. I ran him at the Curragh then but he ‘gassed’ it early and got knocked about.”

He added: “I knew with today’s smaller field that at least he wouldn’t get knocked down and he got to show himself. I entered him in the Rockingham at the Curragh (Derby weekend) in the hope he’d win today so we’ll keep going and go with that race in mind.”

Zarra pulls profit from shorter trip

ZARRA Ellis benefitted from dropping back in trip to easily win the Mallow Maiden for Willie McCreery and Billy Lee. Despite being sent off 14/1, the Redpender Stud-owned filly was always prominent before going on to win by three and a quarter lengths. Willie McCreery said: “I’m delighted for the breeders Jimmy Murphy and Redpender Stud.

“He was head travelling lad to Paddy Mullins, loves his horses and is a very cute and clever man. Ciara had to mind the fort at home but his two lads are here so this is great. She is from a good family so it is important to get the win. I thought she was more suited to six or seven (furlongs) but she was in her comfort zone and in a lovely rhythm today and finished the race out very well.”

Lord holds on

Michael Halford and Tracey Collins won the concluding Cork Handicap with Lord Church. Owned by Homely Equines Ltd, the 7/2 chance stayed on best inside the final furlong to hold Masoun by half-a-length.

Halford later said of the Ronan Whelan- ridden winner: “He is a big scopey horse and I thought coming here that he would handle the extra furlong and that the better ground wouldn’t be a problem. He got the job done, hopefully can continue to progress and he has a great attitude and will to win. You’d like horses that know how to win and he is owned by a good patient man in Brian Gallivan.”