MOHAWK took full advantage of a drop in class to run out a decisive winner of the Group 3 Meld Stakes at Leopardstown this evening.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt has kept smart company this season, finding only top-class stablemate Circus Maximus too good in the Dee Stakes at Chester, before taking his chance in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Prix du Jockey Club.
Given a patient ride by Donnacha O’Brien in this nine-furlong affair, the Galileo colt produced a smart turn of foot from well over a furlong out as he swept to the front.
The lightly-raced Up Helly Aa stayed on strongly to give Willie McCreery plenty of encouragement for the future, but the 9/4 favourite had a comfortable two lengths in hand at the line.
Stepping down from Classic company, Mohawk gets off the mark for the season with a ready success in the Meld Stakes for @Ballydoyle and @donnacha_obrien at @LeopardstownRC— Racing TV (@RacingTV) July 18, 2019
Results ? https://t.co/glajGV55GR pic.twitter.com/fj5Lg5EVHg
O’Brien junior said: “It was nice and smooth, they went a nice gallop, I got a nice slot the whole way and when I asked him to quicken up he did. He probably got a little bit idle in front, but he’s a nice, solid horse.
“They went a nice gallop and I think the leader (Ancient Spirit) was just starting to crack and my lad had form over further. He stuck at it well up the hill.”
Howling Wolf builds on his promising debut and fends off the eye-catching Santiago for success at @LeopardstownRC.— Racing TV (@RacingTV) July 18, 2019
What a day for all the trainers in the Mullins family - Willie, Tom and Emmet with winners at @KillarneyRaces and Tony on the scoreboard here! ?? pic.twitter.com/dMjHs8TBb6
Elsewhere on the card, Howling Wolf made it a day to remember for the Mullins family with victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Maiden.
Having finished a close third first time out at the Curragh, the Tony Mullins-trained 9/4 favourite made that experience count, racing prominently before ultimately proving too strong for Aidan O’Brien’s newcomer Santiago, who ran a nice race in second.
The half-length success meant Mullins joined his brothers Willie and Tom with winners on the day, as they, together with nephew Emmet, were on the mark in the afternoon at Killarney.
Mullins said of his winner: “He’s nice. His full-brother (Howling Ridge) dead-heated here last year and this lad has a much better mind.
“I’d say he could step up to listed or maybe even group class. I think we’ll go another step before he might be offered for sale.”