Backed from as big as 16/1 (with Paddy Power) in the morning and tightened from 5/1 to 4/1 on-track, the four-year-old was always handy under Rory Cleary and, having taken command, stretched clear to slam Les Darcy by four and a half lengths.
“He had a wind job during the summer and it’s beginning to pay off. Trying him over a mile didn’t work in Leopardstown, but he had to have a chance off the lower mark tonight. It’s a great birthday present for my father – it’s his birthday tomorrow,” stated trainer English, while the winning rider reported: “Damien told me he was mad fit and to jump out and let him do all the work. But I was happy to take a lead and I was always confident. He put it to bed well from two furlongs down.”
Fresh from their four-timer last Friday, Michael Halford and stable-jockey Shane Foley struck again with Whaileyy in the claimer, the six-year-old Holy Roman Emperor gelding recording his first win since arriving from Marco Botti’s yard.
He battled well to hold Dashwood by a half-length, with favourite Akasaka third. Halford explained: “He lost his way and is probably not the horse he was. But he always does his best and it’s great to have a winner for his owner (Ibrahim Rachid).”
Foley went on to complete a double when the John McConnell-trained Minot Street landed the finale, appreciating the step-up to a mile and a half to land the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk Handicap in impressive style.
Chris Hayes commented: “I was trapped wide and arrived too soon, but it’s good to get the maiden tag out of the way,” after partnering Sharaasa to a one-length win over Bairns St Bay and well-backed favourite Lady Of Light in the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden.
The Approve filly, which Kevin Prendergast trains for Hamdan Al Maktoum, was gaining compensation for a narrow defeat in Naas last month (when last night’s favourite was fourth). Hayes added: “I thought she’d be finished for the season when the grass finished. But this was a good spot by the boss and she’s a nice filly for next year.”
In the four-runner colts’ race, 30/100 favourite Corbata proved a ready half-length winner over Split The Atom, providing his trainer John Oxx with his second two-year-old success of 2014.
Winning rider Declan McDonogh explained: “He took a bit of a tug in Cork, so I wanted to get him settled tonight and got a nice lead. He travels well but pulled up a bit in front. He handled the surface well and goes on the soft, so we’ll have plenty of options for him next season.”
A dual-winner here last November and blinkered for the first time, the Peter Casey-trained Rose Angel, ridden by Robbie Downey, ran out a convincing winner of the one-mile apprentice handicap, quickening clear to beat favourite Beat The Ballot by four lengths.
Under a 5lb. mandatory penalty for her course and distance win on Friday, Nedera (7/4 favourite) followed-up in the Dundalk Racecourse Of The Year Handicap.