Express steams home for Deegan

CURRAGH trainer Paul Deegan took the training honours in Wexford last night, registering a fine double with Beauty Express in the Gorey Race and following-up with Belleau in the claimer.

Deegan, attending a wedding in Waterford, missed seeing Beauty Express, ridden by Willie Supple, land the Gorey Race at the expense of Curl Cat and Words Of Wisdom, providing the Doyle family, from Dunlavin, County Wicklow, with a welcome success.

Bred by Paul and Noel Doyle and carrying the colours of their mother Sadie, Beauty Express was a first winner in the family colours, worn in the past by such talented animals as Galevilla Express, since Touchwoodexpress back in 2002.

Paul Coyle, representing Deegan, commented: “She wasn’t winning before her time and will probably head to Galway next week.”

The Deegan double came in unusual circumstances, when Belleau, ridden by crack apprentice Sam James, got the better of odds-on favourite and former stable companion Black Belt in the Blackstairs Claiming Race. Black Belt, winner of her maiden in Ballinrobe on Monday, took the lead three furlongs out before being outstayed by Belleau and beaten a head. Coyle said: “She stays well and might go to Galway.”

Belleau was claimed for €6,000 out of the yard of Black Belt’s trainer Tracy Collins from a Dundalk claimer and was having only her second start for Deegan and new owner Michael O’Callaghan.

Runner-up Black Belt was the only horse claimed out of last night’s race, claimed for €8,000 by Mrs Cathy Harrison. Seamus Heffernan, rider of Black Belt, picked-up a two-day ban for not allowing his mount to respond to his use of the whip.

He was also banned for two days following his narrow defeat on King’s Jester in the Belmont Handicap, being found guilty of using his whip with excessive frequency, a sanction also handed down to Michael Hussey, partner of the short-head winner Elusive Moon.

Hussey later admitted: “I thought he got me on the line,” while winning trainer Jim Gorman said: “He was disappointing the last day, from a bad draw but he’s tough and game and keeps going. The ease in the ground was a big help. He’ll go for something similar.”

Sonapour, rated 80, landed the finale, the Clonard Maiden in the colours of the Aga Khan, driven out by Shane ‘Dusty’ Foley to see off Mojita by a length.

The winner is trained by Michael Halford, who commented: “He stays well and is tough. He did it well once Shane got stuck into him. He’s a straight-forward, genuine horse and will now go handicapping.”

Joseph O’Brien, who faces the biggest challenge of his racing life on St. Nicholas Abbey at Ascot today, was on the mark when Six Silver Lane, trained for Hayley O’Connor by Joanna Morgan, who was not present, won the Enniscorthy Handicap. O’Brien summed-up the race succinctly, explaining: “He travelled and quickened well.”

Second on a previous visit to the track back in May, when she tried to make all, the David Wachman trained Holy Roman Emperor filly Hadrian’s Waltz came good in the opening three-year-old fillies’ maiden.

Ridden by Billy Lee, Hadrian’s Waltz tracked front running favourite Katherine Lee and Lilly The Lioness before challenging, between horses, with less than two furlongs to race. In front at the furlong-pole, she kept going well to hold the renewed effort of Katherine Lee by a half-length, prompting Lee to explain: “It suited me fine to get a lead. She seemed to enjoy herself, travelled sweetly and picked up well. She won with a bit in hand.”

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