Impressive Maharaja the star of the show

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Indian Maharaja, the first foal of Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Again, proved the star of last night’s action in Gowran Park, storming home an impressive six-and-a-half lengths winner of the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Maiden, the season’s first juvenile event over a mile.

Impressive Maharaja the star of the show

Having tracked the leaders, Joseph O’Brien made his move early in the straight. Soon in front, Indian Maharaja kept quickening and stretched clear to slam Urban Moon in the style of a smart colt.

There was drama after the 4/5 favourite landed the spoils as he failed to turn at the bend past the stands, almost crashed into the rails and unseated Joseph, before being caught quickly.

Both horse and rider emerged unscathed and Joseph reported: “He was very green all the way, all over the place. He was nearly going too quick, didn’t turn and started skidding. But he’s a lovely colt and should learn plenty from tonight.”

Indian Maharaja, which earned quotes of 20/1 (Stan James) and 25/1 (Paddy Power) for next year’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas and 25/1 — from Paddy Power — for the 2014 Investec Derby was the second leg of a double for Aidan and Joseph O’Brien, initiated by One True Love in the opening seven-furlong maiden.

This Duke Of Marmalade filly overcame a wide draw, pouncing in the straight to head favourite Harpist before staying on (despite her rider losing his whip) to triumph by a neck.

Joseph said: “She’s been running consistently well. The ground is quick and I decided to keep her out and travelling. She deserved a change of luck and it’s nice she won.”

Forester started an uneasy favourite to complete a treble for Ballydoyle in the featured Gowran Gathering Wednesday August 14th Handicap but, having run prominently, came under pressure early in the straight and dropped away tamely to finish last of the six runners behind Edith Cowan.

The winner, which is trained by Charles O’Brien for his mother Jacqueline, got up inside the final furlong to beat Brog Deas by a head and her trainer stated: “She’s an honest old thing and could have won four! She’s due in the Sales Ring in Newmarket next Wednesday. But I’m not so sure now. I’m starting to think about nicking some black type with her.”

Jumbo Steps, which gave Johnny Levins his first training success at Fairyhouse last month, followed-up when getting home by a half-length in a blanket-finish to the BBQ Evening Wednesday August 15th Handicap.

Ridden again by Gary Carroll, he held top-weight Mordasnmijobsworth, prompting Levins to admit: “I’ve never been as nervous. I waited to talk to Gary after he rode in the first and took a chance running him on that fast ground.

“But, in fairness to the team here, the track is always like a carpet. We got away with it and I’d say we’ll be heading to Galway with him,” added a relieved Levins.

After 100/30 favourite Neophilia, ridden by Kevin Manning, proved an emphatic winner of he Miller Genuine Draft Handicap, beating Island In The Sun by four lengths, Jim Bolger declared: “I have a broodmare!

“She’s a filly with pedigree, will stay a bit further and likes good ground,” he added.

James Barrett saddled Always Annie to land the finale — the fillies maiden — in workmanlike style under Rory Cleary, stepping-up n her debut run at Limerick.

The successful trainer explained: “The plan was to ride her like that in Limerick, to be handy. But she sat back in the stalls and could never get involved. She could have done with a lead for a bit longer today, but stayed at it well.

“She showed loads of boot at Limerick and I’d say she’ll be effective from ten furlongs to a mile and six. We’ll see how the handicapper rates her before making any plans but, when she steps back up in trip, she might have another day.

Having eased past front-running Sister Slew, the daughter of Mount Nelson stayed on to beat favourite Magical Steps by almost two lengths.

“It was a funny race. Being drawn sixteen, I thought it would be difficult but she jumped out quickly, got across and toughed it out well,” said trainer Ken Condon after Roja Dove won the apprentice handicaps by a neck from Orion’s Might. “It’ll do Ross (Coakley) no harm — he’s ridden a few second in the last few weeks.”

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