Oxx ‘lucky’ – for the 11th time!

The listed Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes has been a "lucky" race for John Oxx since its introduction in the 90s, and the Curraghbeg trainer annexed the prize for the 11th time when Tarana, ridden by Declan McDonogh, powered up the Ballybrit hill to land the spoils in Galway last night.

Oxx ‘lucky’ – for the 11th time!

Sent off 7/2 second favourite behind another Aga Khan-owned filly, the Dermot Weld-trained Ebeyina (finished a well-beaten tenth), Tarana tracked the leaders, challenged to seize the initiative turning for home and stayed on strongly to triumph by two and a quarter lengths from Killarney maiden winner Altesse, with Beyond Brilliance faring best of Aidan O’Brien’s quintet in third place.

The winning trainer admitted: “The trainer made a mess the last day, putting blinkers on her, She was too free and took off. She ran herself into the ground, but still managed to run a good race to finish fourth.

“The track and the strong gallop helped her today and she settled well. She’s a really genuine filly and has been running well all year. This has been a lucky race for me over the years. I’ll try to find another listed race for her, maybe the Finale Stakes at the Curragh next month.”

Aidan and Joseph O’Brien shared a first and last race double, with Archangel Raphael and Vibat Rex both earning hard-earned victories under determined rides by the champion jockey.

Narrowly beaten on his debut at Killarney, uneasy favourite Archangel Raphael came from mid-division, under a determined ride, to lead inside the final furlong and beat Sarah Joyce in the opening two-year-old maiden.

And, after 4/1 second favourite Vivat Rex landed the finale, the Sean Cleary Memorial Maiden, Joseph commented: “He’s a grand horse, with a good attitude and, if he’s not killed with a mark, he might win another little race.”

After two creditable runs at the Curragh, the Andy Oliver-trained Could Should Would, well-backed all day and sent off at 4/1, delivered in the Irish Stallion farms Median Auction Fillies 2-Y-0 Maiden, leading off the home turn before holding the late surge of Brown Bee by a half-length.

22lb. higher than when scoring at Tramore last month before being turned over in Roscommon, the Willie Mullins-trained Clondaw Warrior justified 6/4 favouritism, in unlikely style, in the Galway Apprentice Handicap.

Ridden by Colin Keane, he came from well off the pace and encountered plenty of traffic problems before getting a gap at the furlong-pole and picking up well, under hands and heels, to score by a length and a quarter from the flattering Benkei.

Local owner Herb Stanley had good reason to celebrate the success of the Pat Smullen-ridden So Sensible in the James Pm Cunningham Electrical Handicap, as trainer Tracey Collins explained: “He’s the first horse Herb bred, so it’s particularly sweet to win for him here.”

The combination of Johnny Levins and Fergal Lynch, successful with Havelock Ellis at Dundalk on Sunday, struck again when Shukhov (second reserve) landed the Maggie May’s Loughrea Handicap at the expense of Moonmeister and top weight and long-time leader Cairdiuil.

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