Profound Beauty bound for Melbourne

HIGH-CLASS mare Profound Beauty proved herself on course for a return to Flemington in November, for the Melbourne Cup, when turning over Ballydoyle hot-pot Age Of Aquarius in the listed Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday.

The Moyglare Stud Farm-owned six-year-old, making her seasonal debut, wore down the odds-on favourite inside the final furlong to score by a half-length, to the delight of her trainer and biggest fan, Dermot Weld.

“She’s a very good racemare,” said Weld. “And that was a very good performance for her first run back against a good opponent, with a run under her belt. The ground is beautiful out there. And she loved it.

“It was unfortunate that she didn’t get back to Melbourne last year (where she finished fifth in the 2008 Melbourne Cup). But the main reason she was kept in training this season was to have another crack at it. And she’ll have the final run of her career there in November.

“We have a few options between now and then. But the Curragh Cup, which she won last year, will be her next start. And she’ll probably go for the Yorkshire Cup, in August, which looks a well-timed final run before heading to Australia.”

Winning rider Pat Smullen was also full of praise for Profound Beauty, “She’s a smashing mare and seems a bit quicker this season. She picked up well and probably hit the front a bit soon. But she dug deep, although getting tired in the last hundred yards. And her class saw her through.”

Veteran midlands trainer Cecil Ross savoured the biggest win of his long career when Six Of Hearts got the better of front-running, odds-on favourite Duff, bidding for back-to-back wins, in the Group 3 Vodafone Ireland Foundation supports Gaisce Ballycorus Stakes.

Ridden by Davy Moran, the ultra-tough and consistent six-year-old pounced inside the final furlong to triumph by a half length. And Ross declared: “He’s been a great servant, for a horse we bought for only £11,000, out of Jamie Osborne’s, in October 2007.

“To be honest, we were hoping to be second today. And it would be easy to say that this was the plan. But with this horse, every day is the plan! He’s worn all sorts of ‘jewellery’ over the years. But we decided to leave the cheekpieces off today. And it seems to have sharpened him up a bit.”

Ross added: “Don’t ask me about plans for him. I have none. But there should still be plenty of races open to him, even if he has to carry a Group 3 penalty now.”

Kevin Prendergast introduced a potentially smart juvenile in Longhunter, a Halling colt owned by the Silverton Hill Partnership, which impressed when landing the Moyglare Grenzen 2-Y-0 at the expense of Ballydoyle debutant Treasure Beach.

Ridden by stable-jockey Declan McDonogh, Longhunter triumphed by four lengths. And Prendergast explained: “He has always show us plenty at home and did his job well. He’s quite professional but should improve and, although I have no definite plans for him, he has plenty of big-race entries.”

On the Gaisce/Youth Race Day, which attracted a crowd of about 4,500, the Johnny Murtagh-captained flat jockeys emerged successful on a 79-63 scoreline in their challenge against their jumps counterparts, with fourth, fifth and sixth placings proving crucial.

The challenge involved two races. And the Craobh Chomortas na Marcach Flat - Jump Jockeys Challenge Handicap produced a one-two-three for the flat lads, spearheaded by the John Queally-trained Elyaadi, ridden by champion apprentice Gary Carroll.

Elyaadi is likely to be aimed at the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot, for which she narrowly missed the cut last year. Queally commented: “She has to be ridden patiently. And Gary did a good job on her. She stays well, but has a good ‘kick’ too. Her owner would love to go back to Royal Ascot. So we’ll have a look at the Ascot Stakes again.”

The second leg of the challenge produced a similar, but contrasting outcome, as the jump jockeys filled the first three places, with Alain Cawley guiding the Jessica Harrington-trained mare Sandymount Lady to victory.

Successful over hurdles at Punchestown last time, Sandymount Lady got home by a half-length from top-weight Lonesome Maverick (Andrew McNamara) in a blanket-finish, prompting her trainer to explain, “This mare idles in front. So I told Alain to wait, and wait, and wait. And it worked out fine. Well mix it with her over the summer and, because she’s still a novice over hurdles, she’ll probably go hurdling next time.”

Enthusiastic owner-rider Paul McMahon, in the winner’s enclosure at Punchestown on Wednesday, struck again when Double Double., runner-up in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Festival, justified 7/4 favouritism in the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association 60th Anniversary Flat Race, beating promising newcomer Maytide by a length.

Double Double was another bumper winner for trainer Charles O’Brien, who said: “He’s a nice horse, and only a four-year-old. And I expect him to improve with time. He’ll have a break now and, if Paul is enthusiastic about the prospect, we might train him for the Cheltenham Bumper.”

After saddling Charminamix to win the Grangecon Stud Handicap trainer Willie McCreery enthused: “Johnny (Murtagh) has found the key to him - getting him switched off. I thought he was good on the horse when he won in Dundalk. But he was even better on him today.

“This horse has been around a while and isn't straight-forward. But Johnny has managed to switch him off brilliantly. And the horse seems to be enjoying his racing again. We’ll continue to campaign him in similar handicaps. And, hopefully, Johnny will be available every time.”

Eddie Harty pointed to a similar change in tactics, “dropping her in” as the reason for five-year-old mare Camira’s improved form after her win under Conor O'Farrell in the opening Y.I.T.B.A. Racing Club Apprentice Handicap.

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