Leather strikes gold in Silver

Placed in both the Dante Stakes in York and the Irish 2,000 Guineas, Trading Leather made it third-time-lucky as a three-year-old and booked his ticket to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby when justifying 5/4 favouritism in the listed TRM Silver Stakes in the Curragh yesterday.

Leather strikes gold in Silver

The Teofilo colt, which blazed the trail in the Guineas before finishing third to Magician, settled in second spot behind Ansgar before challenging early in the straight. In front at the two-furlong pole, he was driven clear by Kevin Manning and stayed on strongly to beat Lines Of Battle (having his first run since the Kentucky Derby) by three-and-a-half lengths, with another Ballydoyle colt Kingston Jamaica in third.

Trainer Jim Bolger confirmed: “He’ll probably come back here for the Irish Derby (June 29). As you know, he was our back-up for Epsom. He won well today and should stay a mile and a half. He’s very straight-forward and has to have good ground, or faster.”

Trading Leather, cut to 6/1 for the Irish Derby by Paddy Power, Boylesports and Stan James, was the second leg of a Curragh double for Bolger and Manning, initiated when Freedom Square put his experience to good use in the opening, six-furlong Irish Stallions Farms 2-Y-0 Maiden.

The Lawman colt dictated the pace and kept going well to beat Shining Emerald by a length and a half, prompting Bolger to declare: “He got the hang of it, at long last,” before adding “Ground is not an issue for this horse and he gets seven furlongs. We’ll have to upgrade him a bit now. He’s in the Railway Stakes (on Irish Derby day) and we’ll have a look at it.”

Kevin Manning shared the riding honours with Declan McDonogh, who doubled-up on the Eddie Lynam-trained Regal Power in the sprint handicap and Michael Halford’s Dabadiyan in the concluding mile-and-a-half maiden.

After Regal Power got the better of top-weight Tarrsille, Lynam commented: “I was a bit afraid of the ground, but Declan said he handled it fine. He charged the gate and bumped his head but it’s good to win with him.”

On a mixed day for punters, 9/10 favourite Dabadiyan proved a convincing winner of the TRM Supporting Global Champions Maiden, slamming long-time leader and market rival Waver by almost four lengths.

Halford, who is enjoying a tremendous run, said: “We’ve always liked this fellow. He had two good runs as a two-year-old, but is huge and needed time. He came on well from his recent run here and should keep improving.”

“He has loads of scope, settles and quickens and has a great temperament. He couldn’t have done any more today.”

The David Wachman-trained 94-rated Royal Empress belatedly opened her account when landing the Irish Field Maiden in good style from front-running Illustrate, Waye Lordan’s mount scoring by two and a quarter lengths.

Wachman commented: “She was Group-placed at two and the job is nearly done with her. She’ll run in stakes races, over six furlongs.”

Majenta, winner of Dundalk maiden and making her handicap debut, captured the TRI Equestrian Fillies Handicap at the expense of Maggie Dalton, prompting her trainer Kevin Prendergast to admit: “That was a fair effort against the older fillies. The runner-up, Maggie Dalton, was the only one I was worried about. And she was a good price!

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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