CREPELLO - Hackett maintains good run with Killarney victory
Ray Hackett is enjoying a fine season and he was on the mark again when Sequoiaspirit swooped late to land the mile and three 45-65 handicap at Killarney last Wednesday.
Having landed a gamble at Limerick on his previous outing, the four-year-old was again well supported in spite of the confidence behind the Willie Mullins trained favourite Double Talkin Jive.
Given a peach of a ride by young Paddy Harnett, the Mainsail gelding was not rushed in the early stages but was then settled in a midfield position. He made nice progress on the inside to be on the tail of the leaders turning to face the judge. Harnett availed of a small gap to his right before the furlong marker and from there the combination flew home to lead in the final strides and turn over the favourite by a short head.
This was a fine piece of placing by Hackett whose string has grown in the past couple of years. His horses always look well and as he has shown in the past when the money is down, he very seldom leaves it behind.
Tim Doyle is another trainer who knows the time of day and he saddled Summer's Dream to capture the second division of the mile 45-65 handicap in the hands of Mikey Sheehy.
Never too far out of her ground, the Arcano mare hit the front a furlong or so out, but she had to withstand a serious examination from Chimeric before prevailing by a short head.
Now a three-time winner for the stable, the winner has also clocked up a string of placed efforts, so she is certainly paying her way.
Curragh handler Kevin Prendergast may well be reflecting on what might have been after Mehnah's landed the listed Cairn Rogue Stakes over a mile.
A leading fancy for the Irish 1000 Guineas, the Frankel filly pulled a muscle in her final piece of work before the Classic and had to be given time off. Although drawn wide and in the need of an outing she still went to post a warm favourite.
Jockey Chris Hays settled her in mid division and she began to pick off the leaders shortly after entering the straight. Hayes popped the question nearing the furlong marker and Mehnah's responded in a positive fashion as she found plenty when it was needed to see of the challenge of the Dermot Weld runner Emaniya by three parts of a length.
In his post-race debrief, Hayes revealed that the winner is a long way off being fully tuned up. This was a good starting point and considering the draw it was a good performance. There are now plenty of options open to her, including the Matron Stakes. She is a big rangy filly that will improve the proverbial ton from three to four. A half-sister to several top-flight winners, including the Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad, she will give her veteran trainer plenty of food for thought during the long winter nights.
Aidan O'Brien has started off many of his future stable stars at the Kerry venue and in Luxembourg, who landed the mile two-year-old maiden, he has a colt that is destined for better things.
Making his racecourse debut, the son of Camelot went to post a well-supported favourite at 5/2 and in truth he never gave his supporters the slightest cause for worry as he came from off the pace to lead a furlong or so out to win going away by two and a quarter lengths from Tuwaiq.
This was a mighty impressive display by Luxembourg. His rider Michael Hussey reported post-race that he was a shade green at times but was pricking his ears a long way from home and must be regarded as being a Group1 horse down the line.
Hussey and O'Brien went on to complete a double when Exuma battled well to capture the mile and three handicap. Easy to back, the Galileo colt was held up in the early part of the race but made good progress to be right on the premises turning to face the judge. Hussey committed him a furlong and a half out and from there he pulled out enough to defeat Earl Of Tyrone by half a length with a similar distance back to the Fozzy Stack runner Sanosuke in third place.
The Burke family from Holycross are now planning a trip to Galway after Thousand Tears ran out a game winner of the two mile and four handicap hurdle for claiming riders at Thursday's penultimate session.
Off the track since the Listowel Festival last year, the six-year-old had a nice pipe-opener at Cork earlier in the month when he finished fourth behind the Ray Hackett trained Nibblers Charm. He showed that effort was no flash in the pan as he recovered from a mistake three flights from home to jump the last in front and run all the way to the line where he had a lengths and three-parts to spare over Whatucallher.
Lisronagh amateur Liz Lalor was seen to good advantage when taking the two mile and a furlong bumper for lady riders aboard Moulane West. Always close to the pace Moulane West took over early in the straight and with Ms Lalor looking around for dangers, defeated Ultima Thule by nine lengths.
Templemore trainer John Ryan is enjoying a superb season and he was on the mark again at Kilbeggan on Friday when Versin Getorix took the first division of the two-mile maiden hurdle in the hands of the up-and-coming Shane Fitzgerald. Making every post a winning one, the six-year-old had three and a half lengths to spare over Cottie at the line.
Not for the first time Aidan O'Brien dominated the Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Saturday when Snowfall toyed with the opposition to add to the Epsom equivalent which she secured last month.
Held up behind the leaders Snowfall briefly looked in trouble when she was trapped in a pocket three furlongs out but once a gap appeared she glided through and extended her advantage all the way to the line for an emphatic eight and a half length victory from stable companion Divinely, the biggest winning margin since Blakestown's ten length victory in 1905.
Next stop for Snowfall will be the Yorkshire Oaks after which further plans will be made.
Denis Hogan got his name on the scoresheet at Tipperary on Sunday when Funky Daddy, under a polished ride by Shane Mulcahy, saw off all-comers to land the two mile and three handicap chase.
Rachael Blackmore suffered serious injuries when her mount Merry Poppins came down in the two mile and a half handicap hurdle at Killarney on Thursday.
She was removed to Tralee Hospital where she underwent surgery for ankle and hip injuries. Happily, she is now on the mend but will be out of action for a couple of months so we wish her a speedy recovery back to full fitness and look forward to her return sometime in October.