Placed six times in stakes company over the last two season, the Jim Bolger-trained Altesse deservedly earned winning black type when getting the better of Ballybacka Queen by a half-length in the listed Noblesse Stakes, feature on Student Day in Leopardstown yesterday.
The five-year-old daughter of Hernando, whose only previous success came on her debut - in a Killarney maiden - stayed on stoutly, under Kevin Manning, in the testing conditions (ground description was changed to ‘heavy’ after the first race, following torrential showers) to master the runner-up well inside the final furlong, with longshot Island Remede in third.
“She’s been very consistent and goes on all types of ground, except firm,” stated Bolger, who trains Altesse for owner-breeder Mrs Kirsten Rausing, “If she gets a good pace, the trip doesn’t matter to her. She’ll probably go for the Vintage Crop Stakes (Group 3) in Navan.”
Both maidens on the card were won by Aidan O’Brien as Claudio Monteverdi and Somehow justified strong market support.
An eye-catching fourth on his seasonal debut at the Curragh, Claudio Monteverdi made all to win the opening Racecourse Of The Year Maiden for Aidan and Donnacha O’Brien.
The 4/5 favourite dictated the pace, quickened away from runner-up Freeman turning for home and stayed on strongly to triumph by four and three-quarter lengths, prompting Aidan O’Brien to comment: “He had a nice run at the Curragh and came forward well. He got a lovely, easy lead and quickened off the bend. He’ll stay further and will have to step-up next time.”
The market for the fillies maiden was dominated by O’Brien’s Somehow, a strong 15/8 chance, against Dermot Weld’s 5/4 favourite Shamseen and the Ballydoyle filly prevailed, by a length and three-quarters, under Seamus Heffernan, after the race developed into a duel in the last two furlongs.
O’Brien explained: “She’s a lovely filly, out of Alexandrova, and had a lovely run here last year.
“She has been working nicely, so we were looking forward to running her. She’ll stay further and she’ll go for one of the Oaks Trials next.”
Aidan O’Brien completed a treble and Donnacha a double when Ineffable, one of the Owning team under Joseph’s care, battled tenaciously to win the Spin 1038 Handicap by a half-length from Love In The Sun.
Joseph explained: “He’s fit from running in Dundlak and handles the ground well, better than I expected. He’s tough and tries hard and will jump a hurdle in time.”
Dermot Weld described the gutsy victory of Va Pensiero over Prove The Point in the Godolphin Student Initiative Handicap as: “A powerful drive from the rider and a very brave performance by the filly.”
The Moyglare-owned High Chaparral filly, winner of a Dundalk maiden last time, stuck her head out bravely for Pat Smullen to score by three-quarters of a length.
The admirably consistent Beechmount Whisper, trained by Patrick Prendergast and strongly ridden by Chris Hayes, belatedly opened his account when landing the finale, the Colours Bar Handicap, by a half-length from Firecrown.
The four-year-old had been placed in his last eight starts and a relieved Prendergast said: “He’s been a victim of his own consistency, going up a few pounds for practically every run.
“He’s owned by relations of my mother’s, from Naas, and they’ve been very patient. Chris says he’ll win another and he has the scope to jump a hurdle in time.”
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