Bunairgead scores emphatic win

Bunairgead’s emphatic win in the listed Lenabane Stakes proved the highlight of a double for trainer Jim Bolger before a huge crowd in Roscommon last night.

The daughter of New Approach travelled well on the heels of the leaders before bursting through to lead a furlong and a half from home and staying on strongly to beat El Salvador by two and three-quarter lengths. Bolger’s filly was confidently handled by Rory Cleary, who won this traditional feature of Roscommon’s flat season on Princess Nala in 2007, and, seizing the opportunity, caused by the filly carrying 8-6, which is below stable-jockey Kevin Manning’s racing weight.

Clear explained in the winner’s enclosure: “She travelled great. Everything happened for her through the race and I got the split at just the right time. She quickened up and put the race to bed quickly. She was stepping-up from ten furlongs and, once she got into her rhythm, she settled and brought me through the race very well. It was all very straight-forward.”

The Bolger double had been initiated in the opening two-year-old maiden when 13/8 favourite Home School proved too strong for market rival Trikala and three other rivals, confirming the promise of his second to subsequent Railway Stakes winner Sudirman at Leopardstown last time.

The son of Intense Focus triumphed by two lengths and Manning reported: “The step-up in trip was a big help. Experience is always a help around here and he did it well.”

Odds-on favourite Belle De Cercy cruised to an impressive nine and a half lengths win in the Property Partners Earley Auctioneers Maiden, giving Johnny Murtagh a first win in his dual-role as trainer and rider. Murtagh commented: “She has run into a couple of nice horses and, on form, deserved to win a maiden like that. She’ll stay further when she learns to settle a bit better and a mile and a half shouldn’t be a problem. There are a few nice fillies handicaps coming up over the next few weeks.”

Letterfromamerica, trained by Pat Shanahan for Thistle Bloodstock, opened her account at the third attempt when producing a gutsy performance to turn over the Ger Lyons-trained favourite Harlem Shake in the two-year-old auction maiden.

Shanahan explained: “We brought her to Chester for her debut which back-fired. But she improved in her second run and stepped-up again tonight. She’s tough and stays.”

The two rising stars of the apprentice ranks, Connor King and Colin Keane were both seen to good effect, King partnering David Marnane’s veteran Maundy Money to a convincing win under top-weight in the Supervalu Roscommon Handicap and Colin Keane scoring on Ger Lyons’s Angela’s Dream in the seven-furlong fillies handicap.

After ten-year-old Maundy Money’s win, Marnane confirmed: “You couldn’t retire this fellow.

“He loves training and racing so much and anything that gets past him on the gallops is decent. He’s in great order and will go to Killarney and Galway.

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