It might not have carried quite the same prize as the Dubai World Cup but winning the Bam Contractors Alleged Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday meant everything to trainer Eddie Harty.
Harty’s American-based brother Eoin saddled Well Armed to lift the multi-million pound race at Nad Al Sheba just a week ago, in stark contrast to Eddie’s dual-purpose horse Baron De’L (12-1) claiming Listed honours.
But Baron De’L is well known at the Curragh for winning 10-furlong handicaps and has outgrown them now as he and Fran Berry came home a neck in front of Estrela Brage.
“He’s my Well Armed,” beamed the trainer.
“He’s won six times here and this is my first black type. He’ll keep coming back, although the owners would love to go to Royal Ascot as well. He can still keep hurdling too.”
A 134-1 treble for Kevin Manning and Jim Bolger dominated much of the afternoon, while Manning added another to his haul on Jessica Harrington’s Zarinava (5-1) in the Newbridge Parishes Charity Day Race.
Bolger was pleased with Vocalised, who was always in command as 5-4 favourite in the Listed Newbridge Credit Union Loughbrown Stakes.
“He is very uncomplicated. We were really hoping to get a bit of pace and sit in, but they were walking,” said Bolger.
“He’s a horse with a big future. He didn’t come cheap and has a huge pedigree. He could go in any of the three main Guineas.”
The Co. Carlow general can do little wrong this new season and then took the 10-furlong P.G.Duffy & Sons Citroen EBF Maiden through another top prospect, Fergus McIver (9-1), who drew a length and three-quarters clear.
Bolger continued: “He is a good type of horse. He’ll get the Derby trip and I’d say he will go for a trial.
“He will go the Derby route, and I’d say the one here is the most likely.”
Bolger’s two-year-old Eireannach (5-1) took the Donovan Printing EBF Maiden, evidently learning from his fourth spot in the first race of the new campaign at the same track last month.
Dermot Weld’s Mad About You (9-4 favourite) got her season back on track after a recent odds-on reversal with an authoritative display in the Bruce Betting Newbridge Gladness Stakes.
Weld said: “She’s been Group One-placed four times for us and a Listed winner so its nice to win a Group Three.
“There is a Group race for fillies early on Guineas weekend (Ridgewood Pearl) that would be the logical next step before perhaps another crack at the Pretty Polly.
“The blinkers help her concentrate but she was a little fitter today and the better ground helped.”
Ex-Sylvester Kirk inmate Opera Music (16-1) provided trainer Sean Cahill with his first course success in the Four Star Keadeen Hotel Handicap as rising star Emmet McNamara poked him through in a blanket finish.