Weld off to a flyer with Imperial Concorde

In-form Dermot Weld made a successful start with his juvenile class of 2012 when Imperial Concorde, his first two-year-old runner of the season, made all to land the opening Irish Stallion Farms Maiden at Gowran Park last evening.

It was Weld’s third consecutive win, and his fifth in eight years, in this event, traditionally the season’s first seven-furlong event for juveniles.

Imperial Concorde, backed into 4/5 favouritism, made every yard of the running under Pat Smullen and, having looked in command at the furlong pole, had to knuckle down, when apparently tiring, to hold Einsteins Folly by a head.

The successful trainer stated: “He’s our first two-year-old runner of the season and is a nephew of Grey Swallow. He’s a really nice colt and we like him a lot.

“Our two-year-olds have been a bit backward, so I expect him to progress through the season. There was no early pace and he was left in front. And Pat said he got tired in the last 100 yards. He’ll appreciate better ground and is a progressive colt.

“Being by High Chaparral, seven furlongs is a minimum for him. But he should improve through the season and has the makings of a stakes horse.”

The featured Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Handicap provided Dermot McLoughlin, based in Ratoath, Co Meath, with his biggest training success, Niall McCullagh’s mount getting up close home to foil brave, front-running top-weight Royal Blue Star and Kevin Sexton by a half-length.

Formerly trained by the runner-up’s handler Jessica Harrington, for whom she won twice, New Magic displayed commendable tenacity to catch the front-runner, to the delight of McLoughlin: “She stays well and a mile is her best trip . And this is a lovely ‘pot’ to win with her.”

Odds-on players were stung in the seven-furlong Irish Stallion Farms 3-Y-0 Maiden when 8/13 shot That Boy David was collared close home by virtually unconsidered newcomer Korbous, ridden for Dick Brabazon by Seamus Heffernan.

The Johnny Murtagh-ridden favourite looked certain to oblige when shaking off the attentions of market-rival Caonach at the furlong-pole. But Heffernan delivered a telling challenge on the inside and got Korlous up to score by a head.

Murtagh gained compensation in the finale, the Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Maiden when the Aga Khan-owned Zariyna prevailed by a head over Urban Ball and survived a Stewards Enquiry.

But he picked-up a one-day ban (May 31) for careless riding after his mount edged left near the finish, hampering third-placed An Saincheann.

It was a night to remember for apprentice Conor Hoban, from Westport, Co Mayo, who is apprenticed to Halford. He completed the third double of his career, on board Ok Annie and Legendary Times.

Trainer Pat Flynn declared: “It’s great to have a winner for the great John O’Shea (of Sunderland and Ireland) !” after Legendary Times proved a facile winner of the Goresbridge Apprentice Handicap. “He injured his ankle last week and this might cheer him up. He’s on holiday with his family in Portugal.”

Hoban had initiated his double (which brought his career tally to 30) when making all the running on the Pat Martin-trained filly Ok Annie in the Early Bird Green Fees At Gowran Park Handicap.

Seamus O’Donnell, now based outside Tipperary town, savoured his first success since 2009 when Moscow Treat, a good second to Landsdowne in Mallow on Friday, justified 7/2 favouritism in the Gowran Park Golf Club Handicap.

Raised 5lb. for her Mallow run but racing off her old mark here, the Fasliyev filly came through late to beat the flattering Daring Man by a length, giving apprentice Marc Monaghan his second win in twenty-four hours.

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