Venus De Milo gives O’Brien a timely boost

Aidan O’Brien, whose horses have been struggling somewhat of late, received a timely Royal Ascot boost when Venus De Milo landed the Group 3 Munster Oaks Stakes at Cork yesterday.

Venus De Milo gives O’Brien a timely boost

The daughter of Duke Of Marmalade performed moderately on her reappearance behind Missunited in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown, but clearly came on for that.

She got a dream run up the far rail for Joseph O’Brien to hit the front with over a furlong to run. Her stable companion, Dazzling, never out of the first two, kept going well, but it was all Venus De Milo in the closing stages, as she crossed the line comfortably in charge.

Commented Joseph: “She has done very well physically, maybe too well. I couldn’t be happier with her and, I suppose, she will now go back to a Group 1 somewhere”

Dermot Weld’s Tipperary maiden winner, Edelmira, went off a well-backed favourite, but was most disappointing, never threatening to raise her tempo in the straight.

Reggie Roberts’ Timeless Call stayed on strongly for Pat Smullen to take the Listed Midsummer Sprint Stakes.

A promising fourth behind O’Brien’s Guerre at Naas previously, Timeless Call was always getting the best of the battle with Jamesie through the final furlong.

“The ground was very important and the draw (seven) was lovely”, reported Roberts. “It is nice to have one like her, I only have three horses. She is in a Group race at the Curragh, but Pat says wants a flat five furlongs.”

The fancied pair, English challenger Eton Rifles, and Scream Blue Murder, never gave supporters any great cause for optimism.

“That’s a monkey off my back to finally get a winner for Sheikh Mohammed”, exclaimed Willie McCreery, after his Leading Actress made a winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Fillies Maiden.

The daughter of Makfi was also partnered by Smullen and found plenty in the closing stages to beat the relatively experienced Blackbriar by a neck.

Continuing McCreery said: “She is a big strong filly and you couldn’t ask for anything better than having Pat riding. Six or seven furlongs will not be a problem for her.”

The progressive Jim Bolger-trained Chance To Dance showed all the right qualities to land the valuable Cork Derby Handicap.

Chris Hayes set a scorching pace on Eighteen Summers and they were tactics that looked destined to succeed for most of the straight. But Kevin Manning had other ideas and he forced the winner up close home to score by half a length. “He’s a good consistent horse”, reported Manning.

The tough and durable Apache Gold made just about all the running to land the Follow Cork On Facebook Handicap in the hands of Niall McCullagh.

“He’s been very consistent, but it’s about time he won”, said trainer, John Joe Walsh. “Niall gave him a good ride.”

David Wachman’s Amygdala stayed on strongly late for Wayne Lordan to collar the always-prominent Chiclet to take the Summer BBQ July 11th Handicap by half a length.

Said Lordan: “I thought six (furlongs) might be her limit, but going on that she might get seven.”

Paul Deegan’s Achnaha was always an odds-on shot for the Median Auction Maiden and duly obliged. But it was oh so close, as it took all of Fran Berry’s considerable driving to force her in front on the line to beat Muileata by a head. Achnaha is currently rated on a mark 93, but that greatly flatters her and she is surely entitled to be dropped by several pounds!

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