Convergence digs in to deny Ryan Moore and War Envoy

Convergence captured the listed Patton Stakes for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane in Dundalk last night, denying favourite War Envoy, Ryan Moore’s first ride on the track, by a length.

The winner tackled and mastered the front-running Sparklingsovereign with more than a furlong and a half to race, before Moore eased the 11/8 favourite into a challenging position.

Keane went to work on Convergence nearing the furlong-pole as War Envoy loomed large, with every chance. But the winner, a Cape Cross colt, dug deep and responded to pressure, running on strongly to triumph as the favourite tired in the closing stages.

“That’s grand, a good start to the season for the horse,” said Lyons. “He was the only horse we had ready to run tonight, in a race that I wanted to support. He has come on over the winter and this rewards Vincent (owner Vincent Gaul), because we turned down some good offers over the winter.

“We have plenty of options for him — he’s still in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, but that’s a big jump from where he is tonight. And the ‘Jersey’ is another possibility. He’s a very-straight forward, honest horse, with a good heart.”

The Michael O’Callaghan-trained second favourite Rapid Applause finished a well-beaten fifth and was subsequently reported to have scoped badly after the race.

Successful with Onenightidreamed in the Irish Lincoln on Sunday, Tommy Stack struck again when Tooreen Legend wore down Sparanai to repeat last year’s win (off a 7lb lower mark) in the Follow Us On Facebook Handicap.

Challenging up the centre of the course under Billy Lee, the five-year-old battled well to score by a neck, recording his fourth success.

Chiclet, off the track since winning her maiden at Navan in October, won the opening five-furlong apprentice handicap in convincing style from Oor Jock for trainer Tracey Collins and Gary Halpin.

It was a significant win for Halpin, his first since receiving a 21 day ban at Navan in October (when riding Gaoth Tire, ironically, in the race won by Chiclet), which kept him out of action until February.

Collins said, “The race worked out perfectly for her and she won well. She needs fast ground — that’s why it suits her here. She’ll run on the grass, when we get some good ground.”

Punters were alerted that American import On Location had shown signs of coming into season ahead of her Irish debut, for Jim and Geraldine Ryan, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk Maiden.

But the filly showed no ill effects when bolting up by four and a half lengths under Fran Berry.

“It was unfortunate that she came in season this morning, her first time in three months, but that was a nice performance,” said winning trainer Ryan, “His mother was a superstar in America and the plan is that this filly will be covered by Dawn Approach.”

Jane Foley, trainer of the favourite and runner-up Torpedo Alley, enjoyed better luck in the finale, when Ronan Whelan got the gutsy Bomber Jackson home by a half-length from House Limit. The winner was recording his third win on the polytrack and is set to go hurdling when the new season kicks in next month.

Apprentice Danny Redmond notched his seventh career success when Cheers Buddy, trained by Lee Smyth, got the better of front-runner Basilica by three-quarters of a length in the Handicap.

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