50/1 shot Risk takes flight at the Curragh

The Jim Bolger-trained Flight Risk sprang a 50/1 shock in the Group 3 Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes, feature of yesterday’s action at the Curragh.

50/1 shot Risk takes flight at the Curragh

It proved the centrepiece of an exceptional day at headquarters for Bolger and stable-jockey Kevin Manning as the Coolcullen combination completed an 841/1 treble.

Highly-tried as a juvenile, Flight Risk was recording only his second success, proving a length and quarter too strong for Piri Wango.

Bolger said: “Pat O’Donovan rides him regularly and told me recently that he’s a Group 1 horse, if everything falls right for him. Things fell right for him today and he’s on his way.

“He got bogged down in Cork the last day and this better ground helped him. Patience is needed with this horse.

“He’s likely to step-up in trip. I’d like to come back here with him, maybe over Derby weekend.”

Parish Hall, a Group 1 winner at two, bounced back from a defeat in Dundalk last time to land the listed Alleged Stakes in impressive style.

He travelled sweetly and cruised into the lead, past even-money favourite Massinga, before running on strongly to beat stable-companion Loch Garman by two lengths, prompting Bolger to comment: “He’s a smart hors eon his day, when things go right for him.”

Bolger will consider a return to the Curragh for the Group 3 Mooresbidge Stakes (on May 4) for Parish Hall. And he expressed his satisfaction with Loch Garman’s display, in his first start for more than two years.

“He was badly carved-up in the French Derby two years ago. And it took a long time for the wounds to heal. But this proves he’s on the way back.”

The Bolger/Manning day started in style when a potentially smart juvenile Mimicking, in the Godolphin colours, made a winning debut in the opening Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Maiden.

The daughter of Invincible Spirit picked up well to see off 14/1 stable-companion Ard San Aer by a length and three-quarters.

“Kevin was very happy with her,” stated Bolger. “She was a little green, but she was on her own out there and did well from where she was drawn. We have a lot of options for her, a listed race in Naas, the Marble Hill or Ascot. And she’ll be coming back here for the Moyglare.”

In-form Chris Hayes continued in spectacular form with a double on Penny Pepper and Papa’s Way, bringing his tally to an impressive nine wins in eight days.

Runner-up in each of her two starts for Eve Johnson-Houghton in England last year, Penny Pepper made a winning start for Kevin Prendergast in the six-furlong fillies maiden.

She raced prominently throughout and quickened away to beat Countess Constance by two and a half lengths.

Paul Deegan stated “Chris is on fire” after Hayes partnered Papa’s Way, up 6lb for a recent win in Cork, to a gutsy victory in the Clongowes Wood College Bicentenary Handicap.

“Chris got him rolling coming down the hill and had them on the stretch turning for home. And Papa is tough and kept going.”

Aidan O’Brien won the concluding maiden, not with 5/4 favourite Los Barbados (ridden by Joseph), but with 11/1 debutant Sandro Botticelli, produced with a well-timed challenge on the inside to foil Time To Inspire.

“It’s grand that he won and he’ll come forward,” said O’Brien.

“He’s obviously been sleeping at home and woke up when he came racing.”

Curragh trainer Ken Condon has his team in good early-season form and struck again when In Salutem, ridden by Shane Foley, landed the Cunninghams Of Kildare Handicap.

Used as a lead-horse for some of Condon’s smart three-year-old fillies, the five-year-old will be aimed at all of the top sprint handicaps during the season, including the Paddy Power and Rockingham’.

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