THE veteran Current Option bounced back to winning ways when taking the most valuable event on the card, the Tote Handicap, in good style under Adam Caffrey. Ado McGuinness’ charge had last struck at the Galway Festival in 2022 when winning the Ahonoora Handicap for the third year in a row.

Caffrey produced the 15/2 shot with a strong run to collar front-runner Verhoyen inside the final furlong and he went on to post a length-and-a-quarter win. “Class is permanent and form is temporary!” said McGuinness of Dooley Thoroughbreds’ eight-year-old.  

“It’s been a while since he won but we just felt that Fairyhouse would suit him, around a bend, that he’d be able to relax and drop it, which he did. The plans for the boys are that they’re always over for the end of July and we’ll try and get him into those two big handicaps in Galway.”

On the bounce

Tango Flare, trained by Pat Foley for Ray McSharry, recorded back-to-back victories in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Race.

Seamie Heffernan took his time on the 5/6 favourite and the five-year-old got on top in the closing stages to post a cosy half-length win over Dandyville.

“We’ll probably go the same route and go back to the Curragh for the listed race that he was fourth in last year,” said Foley. “We tried him over seven on his first run back this season, to see would he get it, but he doesn’t. He’s a six furlong horse.”

Easy in the mix for Ascot

EASY Mover (16/5) was a debut winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden under Wayne Lordan. Out of Irish Oaks runner-up Rain Goddess, the winner is a half-sister to Dee Stakes victor San Antonio from which Lordan suffered a season-ending fall in last year’s Irish Derby.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore partners, the daughter of Wootton Bassett led inside the final 100 yards before just holding fast-finishing Canto Della Terra by a head.

Stable representative Chris Armstrong said: “She’s a filly that’s going to appreciate going up to seven or even a stiff six. She’s now put herself in the mix for Ascot, for the six, or we could keep her for the Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh on Derby weekend.”

Key consistency

Kortez Bay gained reward for his consistency when running out a decisive winner of the CPAC Modular Maiden in the hands of Robbie Colgan. Placed in all three previous outings this season, the 5/4 favourite was ridden to lead over a furlong out and stretched clear to beat Shamsuddin by four and a quarter lengths.

“I’m delighted, I’ve always loved him,” said Sheila Lavery, who trains the winner for Joanne and John Lavery. 

“I was surprised I was able to buy him because he’s a half-brother to Lady Kaya. I met his breeder John O’Connor and I laughed and said to him there’s not a chance I’m going to able to buy a New Bay out of Kayak.

“He said he wouldn’t be anyone’s cup of tea but when I saw him all I could see was athlete. He was a raw horse. It might have been stupid running him at two but he learned and he’s actually needed all the time.” 

Battle it out

Fourth in his two previous outings, Highland Bling was a game winner of the Tote Maiden under Shane Foley. Fitted with cheekpieces for the first time, Jessica Harrington’s gelding made the running but was ridden and headed by Teofimo a furlong and a half out. Rallying well for Foley, the 5/1 chance regained the advantage in the final 50 yards and a head was the margin of victory.

“He was game and stuck at it well,” said Harrington of the OTI Racing and Bronsan Racing-owned winner. “He’s only really learning now and is a big laid-back horse. He’ll go handicapping now.”

Naturally quick double for OTI Racing

THE OTI Racing colours were quickly back in the winner’s enclosure following the Tote 3-y-o Handicap in which Natural Ruler (11/4) got up close home under Ben Coen.

The Ten Sovereigns colt was ridden in third early in the straight and responded well to Coen’s urgings to collar Lady Doris in the final strides for a neck success.

Coen said of Johnny Murtagh’s charge: “I’d say he’ll stay further. He’s a horse that’s improving with racing and mentally he’s just coming there now.”

Made all

Charlie Luciano (7/2) made all and just lasted home in the first division of the Dino Day On 10th July Handicap. Colin Keane kicked clear on the four-time winning hurdler early in the straight but things got desperate in the final 100 yards as Elsa’s Pride and Barrys Rock bore down on the leader who clung on to beat that pair by a head and the same. 

The Bobby’s Kitten gelding races in the Meath colours of F.J. Carragher, and trainer Noel Meade said of the winning horse: “He’s just special, isn’t he, because he’s a slow horse and probably wants a bit further than that. He’s up in the ratings a bit over hurdles but jumps fences all right so we might try that again.”

Kicking clear

The second division of that 12-furlong handicap went to Numidia (7/1) who fairly routed his 15 rivals under Killian Leonard. The latter made a race-winning move when kicking clear approaching the straight, and from that point nothing could get near the Estidhkaar gelding who scored by six lengths from Hinemoa. Owner/trainer Peter Lawlor commented: “We needed that one as it’s a long time since the last winner, it was last year. He went early enough with him and luckily enough it worked out. He’s always been very consistent and runs his heart out every time.”