Aidan O’Brien and Seamus Heffernan continued in sparkling early-season form when sharing a double with 5/6 favourites Housesofparliament and Long Island Sound in Dundalk last night.
Runner-up to stable-companion Bhutan on his seasonal debut, in soft ground, at Leopardstown, Housesofparliament quickened well, despite showing signs of inexperience, for a convincing five lengths win over Flying Bullet in the 188BET Maiden, clearly appreciating the quicker polytrack surface.
“He had a lovely run at Leopardstown, where he got tired in the ground, and came forward nicely,” explained Heffernan.
“We knew he’d appreciate the surface tonight. Our horses are bred for it and, the faster the ground, the faster they go.”
O’Brien, who had a four-timer at Dundalk on Monday, struck again when Heffernan made all on Long Island Sound, a course and distance winner on his recent debut, in the one-mile Irish Stallion Farms Race.
Having dictated the pace, the War Front colt was tackled by his four rivals in the straight, but kept finding more to defeat Midnight Crossing by a length and a half, prompting his rider to comment: “It’s nice when they fulfil their promise. This fellow is learning all the time and should keep improving.”
Meanwhile, on the eve of his final assault on the British Trainers Championship, with ten runners in Sandown today, Willie Mullins completed a double with chasing debutante Valyssa Monterg and Kolumbus in Kilbeggan.
Winner of a handicap hurdle on good ground, Valyssa Monterg jumped soundly to justify 4/6 favouritism in the Irish Stallion Farms Mares Beginners Chase.
Mikey Fogarty’s mount, always close to the pace, had mastered front-running Lenora when that rival blundered at the last, allowing the favourite to establish a clear lead for a two and a quarter lengths win over chief market rival Knockraha Pylon.
The Mullins double was completed when Patrick extricated 2/1 favourite Kolumbus from a pocket on the inner, challenged on the outside turning for home and stayed on to beat Crosshue Boy by a neck in the bumper.
“They went fast early and then slowed it up, so I had to sit and suffer where I was,” explained Patrick, “It was hard to get out but, when he did, he put his head down and kept finding.”
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