Previously successful at the Curragh and Tipperary and having his first run since returning to the yard of Ian Williams (who bought him at the Sales for £20,000 two years ago), the five-year-old gave Steve Donohoe and Williams big-race success on their first visit to Dundalk.
Donohoe admitted: “He did well to win – the bend comes up a bit quick and we got squeezed and lost momentum,” while Williams conceded: “All the plaudits go to Tim Pitt who trained the horse until a week ago and did a great job with him. But it’s great to have him back.
“Stevie did a great job on him and didn’t panic when he was checked. The horse will have a break and will, head to Dubai in the New Year.”
Trainer Tracey Collins suggested: “I’d love to get a listed race for him here in the middle of the summer,” after consistent grey Captain Joy defied top-weight, under a perfectly-executed ride from Pat Smullen in the €20,000 Book Your Christmas Party At Dundalk Handicap.
Soon prominent, Captain Joy edged ahead on the inside before the straight and kept going well to triumph by a length, with a blanket-finish for the minor placings. His trainer added: “He has run consistently on the grass. But he travels exceptionally well here, on the surface and under the lights. I can’t see anything else for him, so he’ll have his winter break.”
Matthew Smith saddled first and third in the Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Handicap as Connor King got Gretzky up to pip Hardtsone by a short-head with Shalaman a half-length away third in a blanket-finish, a performance which prompted Smith to comment: “When he got off the truck, he knew he was here – he’s just a different horse here.”
The well-bred, Aidan O’Brien-trained filly Adeste Fideles opened her account, at the seventh attempt, in the opening six-furlong maiden, making all to score convincingly by almost five lengths from Taaluf, prompting her rider Seamus Heffernan to declare: “She’s been running over longer trips and we’ve been riding her wrong. She likes to jump and do her own thing — and that’s what she did tonight. It was probably a weak race and she looked a steering-job – somebody had to steer her!”
Adrian Keatley is planning a trip to Nottingham, for another nursery, on Wednesday week for with Anonymous Lady, which got the better of Enter The Priory and Miss Temple in the five-furlong nursery, prompting her trainer to declare: “It’s grand to get the job done with a filly that cost only 900 quid.”