And Weld was quick to express the hope that Gaff, a son of Maria’s Man, will develop into a high-class colt, stating, “This is a potentially very good horse.”
After seeing Smullen getting the colt home a half-length in front of Zelkova in a blanket-finish, Weld added: “This wasn't a surprise. He has been working well and has come forward rapidly in the last few weeks. I knew he was well above maiden class and thought he might win.”
Riding honours, thanks to a double on Queen and Saintly Rachel, went to Jamie Spencer.
The champion-elect had the Sadler’s Wells filly Queen in front soon after the start of the ten-furlong fillies maiden and, having slipped clear with over a furlong to race, she held the late surge of Zafarna (Michael Kinane) by the minimum margin.
Later, Spencer brought the Charlie Swan-trained Saintly Rachel with a well-timed challenge to win the Ballybin Handicap by a neck from Eckbeag with Athlumney Lad a close third.
On a day of shocks, the Myes Sunderland-trained Be My Magic (Tadgh O’Shea) landed a tidy gamble (16/1 - 10/1) in the Clonee Handicap while Insan Mala, trained by Patrick Prendergast for his mother (who is holidaying in Spain) made a winning start to her career in the two-year-old auction maiden.
Best Side, trained by Kevin Prendergast for Lady O’Reilly, pounced on the inside before storming clear under Declan McDonogh for a convincing win in the two-year-old fillies maiden.
And Purest Gem, trained by Declan Gillespie, opened her account in the Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap and will be sold at Goffs’ Horses In Training Sale at the end of October.