Time is right for Weld in 1000 Guineas

IT may be a long way from a maiden in Cork to a Classic, but Dermot Weld's Nightime bridged the gap in emphatic style in the Boylesports Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh yesterday.

Carrying the colours of Weld's mother, Marguerite, now in her 90th year, Nightime exploded home six lengths clear of outsider Ardbrae Lady and the unlucky-in-running, Queen Cleopatra.

“I thought when Grey Swallow won the Irish Derby it was my most enjoyable day, but this is up there with that”, said the inimitable Weld.

Well-backed favourite Confidential Lady set a scorching pace, considering how testing the ground was, and never really had a hope of getting home.

When she began to back-pedal a furlong and a half out, Pat Smullen wasted no time sending the daughter of Galileo about her business.

In a matter of strides Nightime was gone clear, powering through the last furlong in impressive fashion.

Ardbrae Lady, representing the relatively small yard of Joe Murphy, stepped way up on previous efforts to fill second, with Queen Cleopatra, who was blocked almost every time she tried to mount an effort, in third.

“My mother has always believed in this filly”, reported Weld. “I wanted to sell her as a yearling, but she said no.

“She is in the Coronation at Royal Ascot, but I am not sure about that, she's very immature.

“Maybe, I will go a different route and take in the Pretty Polly on the way to the Irish Oaks. Nightime is very adaptable ground-wise.”

The trainer took great pleasure from the fact Nightime was bred by his mother as, of course, was Grey Swallow. “We have the dam at home, Caumshinaun, and she won the Platinum Stakes at Cork for me”, said Weld. “My mother is a Waterford woman and Caumshinaun is a lake in the Comeragh mountains in Waterford.”

Commented Smullen: “Frances (Crowley, his wife) won the race last year, but I had to ride for Dermot, so this is great. She will certainly stay a mile and a quarter and will be even better on better ground.”

Weld and Smullen combined to land a whopping 220-1 double when Mutakarrim spreadeagled his field to take the Boylesports' 100 Nationwide Handicap. He may be a nine-year-old now, but there is plenty life left in him yet and Mutakarrim won this with plenty in hand, after going to the front with a furlong and a half to run.

Typical of Weld, he has an unusual target for a horse who had just won at headquarters. “The Galway Plate is the plan.”

Irish Derby and Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe winner Hurricane Run had little more than an exercise canter on his way to dismissing Alexander Goldrun in the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup. He was one of three winners for Kieren Fallon.

Hurricane Run made practically all the running, lengthening through the last two furlongs to score unextended by seven lengths.

Fallon was mighty impressed. He said: “I didn't want to make the running, I would have liked a lead. He is very straightforward, but doesn't do a tap in front.

“He is one of the best moving horses I have ever ridden and I wanted him to enjoy himself. He gives you an unbelievable feel.”

Commented trainer, Andre Fabre: “It wasn't a worry having to make the running. He now goes for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and then the King George (Ascot). Obviously, the 'Arc is the long-term plan.”

Aidan O'Brien saddled his first juvenile winner of the season when Fallon guided Eagle Mountain to success in the Boylesports Maiden.

The son of Rock Of Gibraltar caught the eye on his debut at Naas, but was light in the market.

He belied the apparent lack of confidence with a gutsy display, finding plenty for Fallon to beat promising Dermot Weld newcomer, Drifting Snow.

“He got a great ride and wants seven furlongs or a mile”', reported O'Brien.

The Ballydoyle handler's Puerto Rico, also partnered by Fallon, found plenty of improvement on his first run of the campaign at Gowran Park to take the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes.

The son of Sadler's Wells revelled in the surface, easing ahead fully two furlongs out to beat Mon Michel by four lengths.

Said O'Brien: “He will love coming back here for the Irish Derby. This is a horse with a bit of class, who will also love going a mile and a half.”

O'Brien's Magicalmysterytour was a a strong order in the ring for the boylesports.com Maiden, hammered from 6-4 to 6-5. He made most of the running and for the majority of the straight looked sure to deliver. But the somewhat enigmatic Rockall Blizzard produced a blistering burst down the centre of the track to grab the favourite in the dying strides.

The grey is trained by Noel Meade, who went to Croke Park instead to see his native Meath go under to Wexford in the Leinster football championship.

Emmet Butterly gave the well drawn Lahiba an excellent drive to win the six furlongs boylecasino.com Handicap.

The filly swept on two furlongs down and held on well close home to beat Bonita Rock half a length.

Jim Bolger's Zacharova made a good start to the season when shooting to the front with over two furlongs to go to take the boylepoker.com Irish Poker Tour Handicap in the hands of David Moran.

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