With Pat Smullen opting to ride the winner’s stable-companion Pale Mimosa, Chris Hayes seized his opportunity on Voleuse De Coeurs, owned by one of his retainers Lady O’Reilly, tasting Group 1 glory for only the second time, just eight days after La Collina’s shock win in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
Winner of a Galway handicap off 79 last summer before landing the Irish Cesarewitch, Voleuse De Coeurs has come a long way in a year and delighted her trainer, who commented: “She’s a very smart mare, a joy to train and has run consistently all year. I knew she would improve from her last run here and, when Pat chose Pale Mimosa, believing she had more pace, I told Chris to be handy and positive on this filly.”
Weld, who had previously won the race with history-makers Vintage Crop (twice) and Vinnie Roe (four times), suggested that he’ll try to persuade Lady O’Reilly to keep Voleuse De Coeurs in training next season, as a potential Gold Cup contender, although her owner hinted that stud might be beckoning for the daughter of Teofilo.
A jubilant Chris Hayes, who had initiated a Group-race double on Paul Deegan’s Fillies Mile-bound Avenue Gabriel in the earlier listed Flame Of Tara Stakes, stated: “This was my first ride for Mr.Weld and it has crowned a great week. I was delighted at Leopardstown for the boss (Kevin Prendergast) and this is very special too — Lady O’Reilly has been very good to me.”
Backed into even-money favouritism, Tormore made all to give Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes their first Goffs Vincent O’Brien National success victory, Middleham Park Racing’s colt winning emphatically by almost three lengths from market rival Sudirman.
Wining rider Hughes explained: “He’s not a precocious two-year-old, more of a big shell with a lot of filling out to do.
“It isn’t easy for two-year-old out there today, wide open and windy. But he did it well and will make a smashing three-year-old.”
Middleham Park’s representative Tim Palin confirmed that Toormore will not be seen again this season and will head straight for the Guineas next May.
It was a red letter day for one of our star apprentices Colin Keane who, unable to claim his 5lb. allowance and give a vote of confidence by his boss Ger Lyons, made his Group-race breakthrough on board Brendan Brackan in the Group 3 Solonaway Stakes.
Impressive winner of Galway’s Topaz Mile before being allocated a rating of 117, the progressive chestnut saw off Ansgar and favourite Darwin in convincing style.
Lyons said: “To get a rating of 117 without winning a Group race was unbelievable. But he showed today what he can do. It’s great for Colin, a hard-working lad with a big future. We’ll put this horse away now and he’ll be heading for Dubai in the New Year.”