On a night when British challenger Decorated Knight, ridden for Roger Charlton by George Baker, landed the Group 3 ICON Meld Stakes at Leopardstown, the O’Briens again stole the show as the progressive three-year-old Arya Tara justified favouritism in the listed Stanerra Stakes.
Arya Tara provided Joseph O’Brien with his first stake-race success as a trainer and provided his sister Ana with a similar milestone, in addition to providing her with the second leg of her first double, initiated in the apprentice handicap on Paul Deegan’s Three Majors, who had run at Killarney on Wednesday.
Arya Tara, owned by AnnMarie O’Brien, has risen through the handicap ranks this summer and, sent off 6/4 favourite here, she tracked Etched before kicking for home off the turn into the straight.
And she stayed on stoutly up the straight to keep chief market rival Avenannte at bay by a length.
Joseph said: “She’s a well-bred filly and has progressed through handicaps. And it’s great to win a stakes race with her — it’s a first for both Ana and myself. She stays very well and, ideally, would prefer some juice in the ground. We’ll look for a group-race for her now, maybe the St Leger Trial (Ballycullen Stakes) at the Curragh next month.”
Earlier, Aidan O’Brien had saddled Sportsmanship, ridden by Donnacha, to beat stable-companion Courage Under Fire in the opening two-year-old maiden.
Aidan said: “He’s a colt with a lot of speed and is suited by five or six furlongs. He’d be better in a strong-run race and could be a horse for Goodwood.”
On his first visit to Leopardstown, Baker struck on Decorated Knight in the Group 3 feature, producing Charlton’s charge with a well-timed challenge to get the better of front-running favourite Portage, who he beat by two lengths.
Baker said: “Fran Berry gave me plenty of advice about the track. And I spoke to Andrea Atzeni, who usually rides this horse, but is suspended, about what I should do.
“The plan was to track the leaders, but I didn’t want to go three wide, so I took him back and rode him with confidence, to come with one run. And he quickened well. It probably wasn’t the strongest Group 3 but he couldn’t have done it any more smoothly.”
David Wachman, who saddled his first winner on turf this season in Killarney on Monday, was on the mark again when newcomer Intern, ridden by Wayne Lordan, foiled favourite Drake Passage by a head in the median auction maiden for two-year-olds.
Lordan said: “He’s still raw and always showed a bit at home. He raced behind the bridle the whole way but showed his inexperience by rolling around a bit when he hit the front. He should learn a lot from today and improve from it. He stays well and is very genuine.”
The Jim Bolger-trained Seville Star, a beaten odds-on favourite on his debut in Navan, made amends when landing the Hermitage Green Maiden in good style, forging clear inside the final furlong under Kevin Manning to beat Military Hill by five lengths.
“He was supposed to do that in Navan,” quipped Bolger.
“I have no plan for him, but he could be for export.”
Bolger, who shared a four-timer with Kevin Manning at the track last week, completed a double when Mainicin made all for the stable-jockey in the finale, the Racecourse Of The Year Handicap.
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