Steinbeck enjoys drop in class to get off mark for the season

STEINBECK, having mixed it with the best without much success since the start of the campaign, outclassed the opposition in the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes at Killarney last night.

He wasn’t disgraced in Group 1 events, the Irish 2000 Guineas and St James’ Palace at Royal Ascot, and chased home the classy Famous Name in the Group 3 Meld Stakes at Leopardstown.

Dropped down to listed company here, Steinbeck showed his appreciation and, essentially, toyed with his rivals.

Ask Jack, fresh from two smashing efforts in handicaps at Galway, tried to make all of the running.

But once Seamus Heffernan poked the winner up the inside of Ask Jack a furlong and a half from home the contest was effectively over.

Steinbeck lengthened away and Heffernan only had to seek the minimum to score by a comfortable length and three parts.

Said Heffernan: “He deserved that, he has been showing us a lot at home. It was a nice confidence-booster and, hopefully, will start his season.”

Dermot Weld introduced a nice newcomer in Photo Opportunity, a half-brother to Famous Name, to take the Ted Moynihan Memorial Maiden.

The three-year-old son of Zamindar had a bad draw, but was soon travelling sweetly for Pat Smullen on the heels of the leaders.

Smullen nudged him ahead over two furlongs down and kept the colt going to repel the persistent challenge of fellow first-timer, Swing Pattern.

“I was out on the track before racing, it is in beautiful condition and a credit to Killarney”, reported Weld.

Regarding Photo Opportunity: “He has taken time and has had a few little problems along the way. I have no definite plans.”

Cambina, who won her maiden on this track, showed all the right qualities to land the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Nursery.

Act Of Love appeared to be in control entering the final furlong, but Wayne Lordan conjured a late surge from the filly to score by half a length.

Trainer, Tommy Stack, said: “She was unlucky at Galway, was slowly away and must have lost six lengths. She keeps galloping, is tough and will get a bit further.”

Stack joined Weld regarding the ground and he too was loud in praise of the surface.

The progressive Tracey Collins-trained Prince Jock added to his Ballinrobe gains with a game display in the Easy Clean Ltd Handicap.

Powerfully handled by in-form Pat Shanahan, Prince Jock was in front over a furlong out and was always holding Indus Valley.

Commented Collins: “It looked competitive and we’re delighted. He is still developing and is hardy horse.”

Tom Hogan’s Quench The Flame was best for money in the Tadgh Clifford Groundcare Handicap and duly did the business.

Faoileanda looked the likely winner for most of the straight, but jinked to her right at the furlong pole, in front of Gentleman Jeff.

In the meantime Ben Curtis was getting a generous tune from the eventual winner, who swept through to grab the lead close home.

“That was a very good ride from Ben, he didn’t panic when finding bits of trouble”, said Hogan. “We might try this horse over hurdles at some stage.” Following a stewards’ inquiry, the placings of the second and third were reversed.

The capable Eddie Linehan drove Willie Mullins’ Phantasy Rock to a three quarters of a length defeat of Master Of Light in the Win A Trip To Disneyland On Family Day Tomorrow Handicap.

Linehan (17) was enjoying his fifth success.

Saajidah’s resolution may have been called into question in the past, but there was no doubting it in the Irish stallion Farms’ EBF Fillies Maiden.

She found plenty for Declan McDonogh pressure all the way up the straight to firstly shake off Endearing and then hold Crazyforlovingyou.

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