Sapphire enters Melbourne calculations

Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen, fresh from a reasonably successful Galway, turned their attention to Cork yesterday and duly combined to land the featured Group 3 Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Give Thanks Stakes with Sapphire.

The daughter of Medicean looked to be in a different league to the opposition and duly confirmed such thinking with a smooth success.

The four-year-old was always travelling sweetly in Demurely’s slipstream and this was over once Smullen said go with more than two furlongs to run.

Sapphire — who revels in testing conditions — lengthened away in style and was seven and half lengths to the good at the line.

Commented Weld: “She was very impressive and is very good. I would say the Irish Leger will be her next race.

“She is a big, long-striding mare and there is much to look forward to. I’m not saying she will go, but will get an entry in the Melbourne Cup and will stay in training next season.”

The defection of Duntle from the Listed Platinum Stakes made Akeed Mofeed’s task much easier, but John Oxx’s colt was impressive in cruising to victory nonetheless.

His previous effort, which was his first of the season, saw him run well for a long way before fading into fourth behind Camelot in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Oxx, however, believes the Dubawi colt is not a mile and a half horse and indicated he would be in no hurry to try him over that trip in the future.

Akeed Mofeed was produced to lead two furlongs out by Niall McCullagh and stretched right away to beat Barack.

Said Oxx: “His next run will be in either the Kilternan (Leopardstown) over a mile and a quarter or in the mile Solonoway (Curragh).

“We will feel our way with him and he will probably stay in training as a four-year-old.”

David Wachman ran two in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden, the long odds-on Three Sea Captains and Curly Wee, and won with the latter.

Curly Wee, far from neglected in the market, quickened ahead inside the furlong pole for Fran Berry to beat Jim Bolger’s newcomer, Leargas, with Three Sea Captains back in third.

Said Wachman: “She (Curly Wee) ran nicely race first time up at Naas and will now go for a Listed race at the Curragh.”

Tommy Stack’s Cape Of Approval, who won his maiden at Tipperary previously, defied top weight of 10-0 in good style in the Handicap.

He travelled well throughout for Wayne Lordan, easing ahead over a furlong down to easily beat Angel Bright.

Fozzy Stack represented his father and said: “He will go for a five furlongs premier handicap at the Curragh on Leger weekend, or something like that.”

Declan McDonogh, who enjoyed a good Galway with four winners, was on the mark again when teaming up with Tom Foley’s All About Alfie to take the first division of the Tote Trifecta Rollover Handicap.

McDonogh came down the outside in the straight on the sweet-moving Antonius Pius gelding and All About Alfie was nicely in control through the final furlong.

Foley nominated another handicap on next Friday night at Tipperary as the next port of call for his charge.

The second section of the same contest saw Michael Hussey drive Gothen Niece to a hard-earned victory, with about a length and a half covering the first five home.

The stewards inquired into the apparent improvement in form of Gothen Niece, compared to her previous outing at Tipperary, and noted the explanation offered by trainer Christy Donoghue.

It’s a long way from Tyrone to this track, but it paid dividends for Andrew Oliver, whose newcomer, Punch Your Weight, finished with a flourish to grab front-running Fastidious in the Family Day Out Maiden.

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