The strapping Choisir gelding, in the colours of the trainer’s wife Ger, was fulfilling the promise of a solid third at the Curragh last time and came through inside the final furlong to get the better of An Cat Dubh by a neck before surviving a Stewards Enquiry.
“He’s a big, backward horse, a big baby,” said a delighted Hennessy, who is based in Emly, County Tipperary. “It’s a family operation and we only have four horses at the moment. I’ve had a point-to-point winner, but this is my first on the track.”
He added: “We’ll take it one step at a time. But he’s still very green and should improve again from this. Seven furlongs is probably his ideal trip, although he has plenty of boot and dropping back in trip wouldn’t be a problem.”
Hennessy received his trainer’s licence three years ago, having worked for Tommy Stack for 13 years in addition to a spell with Danny O’Sullivan.
The Jessica Harrington trained Dane Street, off the track since finishing third to the classy Princess Highway at Leopardstown in late March, won the Follow Us On Facebook Fillies Maiden in the style of a progressive and potentially stakes-class filly.
Ridden by Fran Berry, she came from off the pace and, having shown signs of inexperience, asserted and drew clear to beat a couple of Dermot Weld-trained fillies convincingly, scoring by three lengths.
Dane Street is owned by Mrs. Sonia Rogers, who reported that the filly’s full-brother Jalaa had won on his debut in Leicester on Tuesday. Trainer Harrington enthused: “She’s a lovely big filly and I’m delighted with her. Because of her size, we have to be careful where we run her — she needs a galloping track. She’ll step up in class now, probably to listed level, and she’ll stay further.”
Trainer Kevin Prendergast quipped: “That’s the first proper one we’ve run,” after 14/1 debutante Roseraie gave him a first two-year-old success of the season in the opening Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden.
The daughter of Lawman, apparently struggling at halfway, stayed on stoutly under Chris Hayes in the closing stages to collar Slope, which had looked an assured winner at the furlong-pole, in the dying strides to score by a neck.
Prendergast added: “She’s never been away before. She’s still very green and should improve a lot from today’s experience, Her half-sister (Rose Bonheur) wasn’t too bad. This filly is in the Heinz (the Phoenix Stakes) and the Moyglare. I’m not saying she’ll be good enough, but, at least, she’s in them.”
Chris Hayes wasted no time in adding to his first-race gains, completing a quick double on the Pat Martin trained Knock Stars in the Ryan Sheridan At Fairyhouse July 4th Rated Race.
The four-year-old filly, without a win since her juvenile days, got the better of front-running Greek Canyon before holding the flying late surge of Colour Of Love by a head, prompting her trainer to explain: “It’s nice to get its — she hasn’t won since she was two. And she hasn’t changed — she still pricks her ears in front and the win should give her confidence.
“We’ve probably been riding her wrong, to show too much speed. Six furlongs is probably her best trip and she’ll probably go for the big sprint handicap at the Curragh on Derby Day (the €85,000 Paddy Power Sprint), if she gets into the handicap, or wait for the Brownstown here a few days later.”
Star Of Erin, trained on the Curragh by Bill Farrell, defied a 13lb. hike in the ratings for a success in Naas last month when landing the La Bucca Restaurant Handicap under Johnny Murtagh.