Weld and Smullen on the double

Windsor Park, winner of bumpers at Leopardstown and Galway, justified odds-on favouritism in last night’s finale, the Gowran Park Santa Train Maiden to complete a first and last double for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen.

Weld and Smullen on the double

Sent off a prohibitively-priced 2/7 favourite, Dr. Ronan Lambe’s five-year-old dictated the pace and pressed until early in the straight by Golden Ticket never looked in danger, staying on to beat Call Me Pj by two and quarter lengths.

The winning trainer commented: “I have no definite plan for him. We’ll see how he progresses,” before recognising Listowel’s Slan Abhaile Race as “a very suitable race” and possible target, with a hurdling career put on hold until Christmas, at least.

The Weld/Smullen double was initiated when American-bred colt Baldonnel opened his account, at the fourth attempt, in the opening median auction maiden for two-year-olds, getting up to beat Lord Carleton by a neck in a blanket-finish.

Smullen commented: “The visor helped and we changed tactics - we had been riding him prominently and decided to drop him in today. They went fast and it was hard work, but I knew in the last furlong that I's get there.”

Odds-on players were stung in the fillies maiden when the Aidan O’Brien-trained 1-2 shot Adeste Fideles, having her first run in 14 months, proved no match for Crafted Mastery, ridden by Colin Keane.

The champion apprentice elect sent the Ger Lyons-trained filly into the lead after a furlong and, clear before half-way, she kept going under pressure to beat the favourite by two and three-quarter lengths, prompting Lyons to explain: “that’s the job done. She’s a home-bred filly, it’s important for her pedigree she won. She didn’t enjoy Wexford and, when I saw such a small field, we had to run. Colin said the blinkers made all the difference.”

Intenser, trained for Mrs Jackie Bolger by Brendan Duke, landed his second nursery of the season when, ridden by Ronan Whelan, he proved a length and a half too strong for Soebroto n the Lets Go Europe Ryder Cup Nursery.

“He's not too bad and I like him a lot, “ stated a delighted Duke. “I had a big row with myself after Sligo - there were signs of mucous when he was scoped after the race and I promised myself it wouldn’t happen again. But he’s an honourable little chap and turns up for work every day. There might be another day in him.”

Talented apprentice Sean Corby registered his 16th success of the season when partnering Red Laser to an all-the-way win in the Kilkenny Apprentice Handicap, his first win for his boss Michael Halford, who commented: “Sean has been with us, during school holidays and now full-time, since he was 12 and that's his first winner for us.”

He added: “Red Laser is a consistent horse and these are his conditions - fast ground and getting an uncontested lead. It all worked out for him. He's a genuine horse, doesn't need a belt.”

Having missed an earlier ride, Leigh Roche rode his first winner since riding out his claim when Mick Mulvany’s tough and consistent mare Annagh Queen, having her 17th run, belatedly got off the mark in the 100 Years Racing Handicap.

And Toureen Legend, ridden by Billy Lee, showed his liking for fast ground when staying on stoutly to capture the next Meeting At Gowran Park Handicap at the expense of Notable Graduate.

Fozzy Stack said: “Very fast ground is the key and it’s going to be tough to find races for him, even in Dundalk. We have the option of going hurdling, but he might go to Listowel.”

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