Casey in a hurry at Gowran

Along Came Casey was a most impressive winner of the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Hurry Harriet Stakes over an extended nine furlongs at Gowran Park last night.

Strongly backed into 6-4 favouritism, the Dermot Weld-trained five-year-old was nicely positioned just off the pace set by Johnny Murtagh on Belle De Crecy.

The latter still held sway with a quarter of a mile to run, but Pat Smullen was travelling powerfully on Along Came Casey, who is twice a previous Gowran winner and has been plying her trade in Grade Three company of late. Hitting the front a furlong and a half out, Smullen only had to give his mount a few reminders as she ran on strongly to beat Belle De Crecy by three lengths.

Say took third for Aidan O’Brien, whose Snow Queen was very reluctant to leave the stalls – as she was on her last start at Cork – losing many lengths before consenting to go on her way.

Weld said: “She did what was expected and is unbeaten around here. She’s a very high-class filly and I thought she would be tough to beat. She is so consistent and loves fast ground.

“The Dance Design Stakes at the Curragh is a logical next race, it’s also over nine furlongs which is probably her optimum distance.

“She’s tough, genuine and consistent and really the ground can’t be fast enough for her. Because of that she may go to America later in the year.

“She’s entitled to have a crack at a Group One before the year is out.”

A dramatic outcome to the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden saw first-past-the-post Green Tag demoted in favour of the O’Brien-trained odds-on favourite Mekong River.

The market leader looked to be making hard work of it before fellow newcomer Green Tag (33-1), who had led from the off, hung to his left at the furlong pole and then back over to the right, although not as sharply.

Mekong River (4-9) appeared to find his feet after the initial interference and was making ground to the line, eventually failing by a neck.

A stewards’ inquiry was immediately called, with the officials electing to reverse the placings.

The Patrick Prendergast trained Manalaplan looks a progressive performer and he displayed a very willing attitude under Seamie Heffernan to win the McEnery Cup by a short head over Encrypted Message.

The latter said: “That was a very good performance by a three year old under that weight. He is in a premier handicap at Dundalk on Sunday, but I’d say that will come too soon for him. As soon as the ground gets soft, he’ll be left off.”

Forcing tactics worked the oracle on Princess Aloof and the filly ran out a game winner of the nursery for Fran Berry and Jessica Harrington.

*Indian Maharaja heads Aidan O’Brien’s battalion of entries for the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on October 26.

The Ballydoyle trainer has won three of the last five renewals with Kingsbarns, Camelot and St Nicholas Abbey all featuring on the roll of honour.

Indian Maharaja moved to the head of the market for next year’s Investec Derby after winning a Listed event at Tipperary last week and is one of 22 entries for O’Brien, with beaten Phoenix Stakes favourite War Command, Australia and Great White Eagle other notable names.

The John Gosden-trained Kingman, the current 2000 Guineas favourite, attracted plenty of attention when winning on his debut at Newmarket and is an eyecatching entry along with Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Hydrogen, an as-yet unraced half-brother to 2006 Racing Post Trophy winner and eventual Derby victor Authorized.

Paul Cole’s impressive Chesham Stakes winner Berkshire is also among the entries along with Godolphin’s Sweet Solera-winning filly Ihtimal.

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