Unlucky at Ascot last time, Aspectoflove initiated the Oxx double when justifying a tidy morning gamble in the listed Garnet Stakes, scoring at the expense of classy older fillies She’s Our Mark and Mad About You.
The Danetime filly was continuing Fran Berry’s tremendous form, giving the winning rider his fifth winner in three days and prompting the winning trainer to comment: “She’s tough and genuine and, although she only finished tenth at Ascot the last day, she ran into all sorts of trouble and Ryan Moore was happy she ran a good race.
“I’ll have to discuss plans with her owners, because she’s entered for the Autumn Sales in Newmarket and I’m not sure whether she’ll go there now.”
The Curraghbeg double was completed when Erdiyna fought tenaciously under a vintage Kinane ride to pip Final Approach in the October Handicap.
The daughter of Selkirk bounced back with a gutsy display, prompting John Oxx to comment: “She’s a very genuine filly and kept going well. She stuck her head out and battled when it was needed. It’s great to win a competitive handicap with such a well-bred filly. I’d imagine she’ll be heading to stud now.”
Oxx added: “She’s a bit unusual, because she needs perfect conditions, like that yielding ground. She can’t handle soft and she doesn’t like a quick surface either, including the polytrack.”
Johnny Murtagh moved within one of Pat Smullen (80-81) in the Jockeys Championship race when winning the featured Derrinstown Stud Birdcatcher Nursery on the Ger Lyons-trained Beat Surrender.
Having made virtually all the running, Murtagh’s mount held on grimly close home to beat favourite Moonreach. Winning trainer Ger Lyons is still nursing a bout of flu and was not present. But his brother and assistant Shane commented: “The’ Birdcatcher’ has always been a target for Ger and he’ll be delighted to win it. This horse won his maiden over course and distance in the spring. He’s tough and needed to be today. Johnny was very strong on him.”
The Andy Oliver-trained Luck Or Design made it third-time-lucky when scampering home an impressive five lengths winner from odds-on favourite Encompassing in the opening Tifrums 2-Y-0 Maiden.
A delighted Oliver stated: “We’ve always though a lot of this fellow and he was probably still a bit green when he disappointed us the last day. But he’s a very good horse with a great cruising speed. Chris (Hayes) said he picked up really well and, with any luck, he’ll develop into a stakes horse next year.”
Last year’s champion apprentice Emmet McNamara was on the mark when Duchess Of Foxland proved a shock winner of the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden.
The Medecis filly, owned and trained by Mark Fagan from Crookedwood in County Westmeath, got the better of consistent but luckless favourite Dane Hall Girl by three quarters of a length and then had to survive a Stewards Enquiry, having hampered he runner-up by drifting left.
Willie Mullins is enjoying a tremendous run with his new recruits and, following the recent successes of Our Monty and Scholars Mate, Thousand Stars bolted up in the Profile Systems Ltd. Handicap Hurdle.
Formerly trained by Lar Byrne and now owned by the Hammer & Trowel Syndicate, Thousands Stars was backed from 4/1 in the morning and went off a rock-solid 7/4 favourite. Confidently handled by Ruby Walsh, he tracked the leaders before edging ahead at the second last flight. Soon in command, he was clear jumping the last before scoring, hard held, by eight lengths from Duers.
Mullins said: “He has a lot of gears and would have no problem dropping back to two miles. It’s just unfortunate he’s not entered at Thurles on Thursday, because I’m sure the handicapper will have a go at him. He hasn’t jumped a fence yet, so I’m not sure what we’ll do next.”
Baron De’l, a classy handicapper on the flat, followed-up his recent Ballinrobe maiden win when landing the Kill Hurdle, a welcome winner for recently returned Davy Condon.
The blinkered five-year-old took the lead at the last before beating Un Hinged by four lengths, prompting his trainer Eddie Harty to comment: “It’s his first time to win going left-handed, which is positive news. He’s a class horse and won well. Next on his agenda will be the WKD Core Hurdle (Grade 3) at Down Royal in two weeks.”
The Tommy Cooper-trained Lucky William, successful at Listowel last month, proved a facile winner of the bumper, powering up the hill to slam Schumpters Lad by seven lengths.
Ridden with plenty of confidence by Mikey O’Connor, the strapping five-year-old stretched in the style of a very smart prospect. Cooper said: “Conditions were just right for him, the ground and going left-handed. He’s a serious horse and will go straight over hurdles now.”