ON his second start as a four-year-old, Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez’s Derby third White Birch (2/1) went back-to-back at the Curragh, in winning the Group 2 Coolmore Stud Sottsass Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes on Bank Holiday Monday.

Colin Keane has an impressive record aboard the John Murphy-trained grey, who now has Tattersalls Gold Cup and Coronation Cup options.

On this occasion, he led travelling well over two furlongs out, and stamped his authority on proceedings from a furlong and a half out.

Lord Massusus, the outsider of the five-horse field at 20/1, chased White Birch home, three and three-quarters of a length adrift.

Murphy’s son George reflected: “He travelled along nicely, they didn’t go much of a gallop, but it was by far his best performance. We couldn’t be happier with that. He’s come on a nice bit from the last day and hopefully he can come on again.”

It’s fair to say the lead horse to post for Maxux (2/1 into 13/8 favourite) didn’t go to plan. It contributed to a delay in the off time of the race. Trainer Joseph O’Brien apologised to the stewards for the conduct of his lead horse. He explained that the animal in question is normally a very dependable conveyance.

O’Brien also admitted to being unaware of the stipulation that a lead horse cannot wear a hood. He was fined €200.

There was better luck for the Carriganóg team in the preceding event. Following on from the successes of Twilight Spinner in 2022 and Honey Girl last year, O’Brien brought up the hat-trick in the 2024 edition of the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Little Big Bear Irish EBF Athasi Stakes.


Battered and bruised (stitches on his nose) after taking a tumble following race one on the card, Dylan Browne McMonagle was still more than capable of delivering Gregarina (16/1) to make a winning stable debut in this seven-furlong contest for fillies and mares.

After 15 previous races, predominantly in her native France, the Sights On Gold and E S Racing-owned five-year-old was settled beautifully out the back by Browne McMonagle, switching about to come through with her effort in the final quarter mile.

One of three representatives from her Piltown yard, she got there at the death to touch off You Send Me by a head.

“It was a fantastic ride. She was quite a hard puller in her races in France and we just had the objective today of getting her settled. We didn’t want her over-racing on her first run of the season and she switched off lovely,” commented O’Brien.

“She will either come back here for the fillies’ race on Guineas weekend or more likely go straight to Ascot for the mile Group 2, Duke Of Cambridge.”

O’Brien’s other pair were Jumbly, the 6/4 favourite, under Ryan Moore, and outsider Valpolicella. Jumbly finished fifth and was reported to be post-race normal while Valpolicella ended up towards the rear.

Stripes stands out with 16/1 win

THERE was another 16/1 surprise when Bright Stripes popped up under Billy Lee in the Listed Coolmore Stud Paddington Irish EBF Tetrarch Stakes.

Much to the delight of owner Paul Hardy and trainer Andy Oliver, the patiently-ridden, victorious chesnut put behind a disappointment when last on his return to action at Leopardstown in April, to beat Norwalk Havoc and disappointing 4/11 chance Samuel Colt by a length and half a length.

Oliver stated at an improvement in form inquiry that more favourable ground conditions may have helped. Norwalk Havoc meanwhile was reported by his rider to have hung left throughout.

“He’s in the Irish Guineas and all being well that is where he’ll go next,” further explained Oliver.

An odds-on eclipse for Ballydoyle there, wasn’t repeated when Whistlejacket (5/6 favourite) convincingly bagged the Listed GAIN First Flier Stakes in the hands of Ryan Moore.

Owned by Peter Brant with the Coolmore partners, Aidan O’Brien’s brother to champion two-year-old Little Big Bear, is now likely Royal Ascot bound after dismissing main market rival Arizona Blaze by three and three-quarter lengths.

Ascot-bound Barnavara impresses on debut

BARNAVARA (6s into 5s) could be seen in Berkshire next month too, and she’d be well worth her place in the Albany Stakes judging from her impressive debut in the Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden.

Owners Alpha Racing and trainer Jessica Harrington appear to have a nice one on their hands. Shane Foley guided the Calyx filly home by four lengths from Kilmood Susan.

Locally-based Joe Conlon will treasure fond memories of this meeting as he registered a first training success courtesy of Ronan Whelan aboard his mother Kathleen Whelan’s Pinar Del Rio (10/3 favourite) in the Holden Plant Rentals Handicap.

“On a good day he’s a grand horse,” remarked Conlon, and that was certainly the case in this big field sprint, as Pinar Del Rio was dominant from the front on the way to a one and three-quarter length verdict over The Bear Trap.

“I’m just a few minutes down the road in Joe Canty’s yard. I worked for Jim Bolger for two years, and was also with Willie McCreery for two years, so a big thanks to them,” elaborated Conlon.


Another beginning to build their profile is 10lb apprentice Rory Mulligan, and he’s down to a 7lb allowance now following his third winner. It came on the Armchair Jockeys Syndicate-owned and Johnny Murtagh-trained Asian Daze (11s into 9s) in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap.

Asian Daze accounted for the market-leading Sluice by three and a half lengths.

The biggest surprise of the session was saved for the penultimate race as Orandi gained the day in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Apprentice Handicap at a price of 33/1.

Tony Martin has care of Orandi for Ted Murtagh and Bertie Hourihane, and Jack Kearney steered him home three quarters of a length to the good from Shawaamekh. Wesley Joyce, rider of the beaten favourite and sixth placer, Come On The Lads, got a four-day whip ban.