Aidan O’Brien’s Montjeu filly was unable to play a significant role in a Naas Listed event on her debut last June, but signed off her juvenile campaign with a smart Leopardstown victory to keep her in the reckoning for this year’s major prizes.
She looked to have plenty on her plate to make a winning comeback in what appeared a strong Group Three event on paper, but won in fine style in the hands of the trainer’s son, Joseph and a trip to Newmarket could be next on her agenda.
Dermot Weld’s Balansiya was all the rage as the 9-10 favourite following a spectacular winning debut over the course and distance in early November, but while she travelled well, 7-1 shot Bracelet wore her down in the last of seven furlongs to take the prize by a length.
Betfred cut O’Brien’s charge to 16-1 from 25-1 for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 4.
The trainer said: “She did it nicely and she’s a filly we think will stay well in time.
“We’re delighted with her and all things being well, she might go to the Guineas (at Newmarket).
As well as being in the Guineas picture, Bracelet is Betfred’s 8-1 favourite for the Investec Oaks. However, when asked whether his filly would stay the mile and a half she would face at Epsom, O’Brien said: “We always thought she would, but Joseph said he wasn’t sure there, as she showed a lot of speed. That’s why we’re thinking about the Guineas.”
Despite Balansiya’s reverse it was another fine afternoon for Weld and stable jockey Pat Smullen, with the formidable combination following up last weekend’s opening day double at the Curragh with another two winners.
Go For Goal could only finish second in last Sunday’s Madrid Handicap, but went one better to cause a minor upset in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial.
Given a canny front-running ride, the 7-1 shot saw off all comers, passing the post with three-quarters of a length in hand over Shining Emerald.
Ebanoran ran with plenty of promise in third, but O’Brien’s previously unbeaten 11-8 favourite Indian Maharaja was bitterly disappointing and was found to be stiff post race.
Weld said: “He ran a good race at the Curragh last week, he handles the ground and is a very fit horse.
“It was a very enterprising ride from the jockey, as was the plan. We’ll see how he comes out of it, give him a bit of time and see where we go with him. Today was the ideal race for him on the score of fitness.”
Weld and Smullen had earlier struck with 9-1 chance Fascinating Rock, who left a disappointing debut well behind with a smart reappearance in the Bulmers Live At Leopardstown Summer Racedays 2014 Maiden.
Weld said: “It was a very pleasing performance from potentially a very nice horse.
“We’ll see how he comes out of the race, but we were thinking if everything went according to plan he’d go for the Ballysax Stakes at Navan (April 12) next.
“He’s done very well over the winter and come forward, so he was the one horse we thought could be a bit of a surprise package this season.”
There were also doubles on the day for trainer Jim Bolger and stable jockey Kevin Manning.
Ceisteach (7-1) edged out Weld’s Kaleefa and Ode To Psyche by a nose and a short-head respectively to clinch a thrilling Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden. Bolger said: “You always have a bit of luck on your side when you come out the right side of one of those (photo finishes).
“She’ll go for some black type after that and she’ll stay a mile and a half very well.”
The pair later found the target with 7-1 shot Sophisticated Heir in the Follow Leopardstown On Facebook Handicap, who is likely to bid for a swift double at Wednesday’s meeting at the track.
Bertimont clinched the Mothers Day At Leopardstown Handicap for trainer James Lambe and apprentice jockey Sean Corby.
Lambe praised his young rider, saying: “I think Sean Corby is a future champion jockey.”