Humilis on course for Royal Ascot

DERMOT WELD’S rapidly improving Humilis is flying up through the grades and she enjoyed her biggest success to date when taking the Listed Blue Wind Stakes at Cork last night.

The daughter of Sadler’s Wells started with victory in a maiden at Clonmel and followed by landing a moderate handicap at Naas. This was a major step up for Dermot Weld’s tough charge, but she again showed all the right qualities when the war began to rage.

Pat Smullen soon had her in front, setting the pace to suit himself. Jakarta Jade challenged strongly in the straight, but was always being repelled and though Queen Astrid finished with a flourish, she was still a short head adrift at the line.

Smullen was suitably impressed with his partner. "She’s genuine and tries so hard”, he said. "The ground is the key and she will get a mile and a half.”

Well-backed favourite, Miss Honorine, held every chance for much of the straight but found it very hard to get an opening in the last half furlong. Dermot Weld, speaking from home, indicated the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Irish Oaks at the Curragh could be on the agenda for Humilis.

John Oxx and Johnny Murtagh, out of luck with Miss Honorine, wasted no time gaining compensation when Mkuzi shrugged off top weight in the Cork Handicap.

Murtagh powered him ahead under two furlongs down and Mkuzi stayed on gamely to beat Wensum Dancer. Said Oxx: "He’s a good horse and I though he was worth another chance in a handicap He will run next in a new Listed race at Limerick, over a mile and a half, on June 7.”

Young Paddy Prendergast saddled his second winner of the week, and his third in all, when Nathan Jones landed the Ballyclough Handicap. In-form Niall McCullagh took Nathan Jones into the lead well over a furlong out and the five-year-old crossed the line a comfortable two lengths to the good over Cool Cousin. "This is a horse I got from my uncle Kevin”, said Prendergast. "There are no plans, I just hope the handicapper is kind.”

Michael Halford’s Miss Serendipity, with a run under her belt, proved just too strong for Kevin Prendergast’s newcomer, Twice Royal, in the EBF Median Auction Maiden. Twice Royal ran fast throughout and was certainly the overall leader from half-way. But Miss Serendipity gradually reeled her in and was driven ahead close home by Tadgh O’Shea.

"She’s still immature and will appreciate another furlong”, reported Halford.

The Carbon Group Handicap Chase took little winning, particularly after market leader, Get Smart, hit the first and unseated Shay Barry.

Ceannairceach took them along, but Givenchy De Solzen, far from neglected in the ring, eased past between the final two fences to score going away by four lengths.

Barry Geraghty took a fall from Four Eagles in this contest and didn’t ride for the rest of the evening, having damaged ligaments in his shoulder.

Loan Man (14-1) won an incident-packed Fermoy Beginners Chase in the hands of Sean McDermott. Vatirisk went on over six out, but the winner already had his measure when departing at the final fence. Goss went off market leader, but was still very easy in the market. He appeared full of running, tracking Vatirisk, when swerving and unseating Paul Hourigan, who replaced Geraghty, two out.

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