Ground conditions turned soft after heavy showers throughout the day. But the Aga Khan-owned Kaleefa relished the test of stamina, digging deep in the last two furlongs to fight off the challenge of When In Doubt and win by three and a half lengths.
“It’s good to get a bracket with her,” commented winning rider Pat Smullen, “Stamina won the day. She handled the ground, dug deep and stays well.”
Roles had been reversed in the opening median auction maiden when Ger Lyons and Colin Keane, denied with When In Doubt, foiled the Weld/Smullen combination as the experienced Azzuri outstayed newcomer Manitobian, going away in the last fifty yards to win by a length and a quarter.
Apprentice Robbie Downey, deputising for trainer’s son Rory Cleary (claimed by his boss Jim Bolger to ride Midfield General), partnered Dancingwithangels to a popular local success in the Connolly’s Red Mills Horse Care Cubes Handicap.
The six-year-old mare, trained outside Athlone by Tom Cleary, relished the softening ground, stretching clear in the final furlong to beat Tawseef.
“She seems to have improved again,” stated trainer Cleary. “My prayers were answered when the rain came. Rory was disappointed that he couldn’t ride her. But we got a good deputy. And his 5lb. claim helped.”
Arthur Moore is enjoying his Flat successes and savoured the narrow but gutsy win of Whats The Plot (Fran Berry) over the flattering No Way Jack in the Roscommon Handicap.
Moore said: “I was thrilled by the way he handled the ground. He’s a nice horse, developing all the time. He’ll make a smashing dual-purpose horse and, on this evidence, should have no problem staying a mile and a half.”
In the National Hunt action, The Housekeeper (15/2) made all to beat odds-on favourite Sambremont in the concluding Follow Us On Facebook Beginners Chase over three miles.
The mare dictated the pace throughout and triumphed by two and a quarter lengths, giving trainer Harry Kelly and rider Sean Flanagan a second success in as many days.
“It’s tough to come back from three falls in four runs, but she jumped well today,” said Kelly.
The Michael Hourigan-trained That’s Nice, placed on two of his three previous trips to the track, landed the two-and-a-half mile bumper, the Kepak Flat Race, after a protracted battle with Indian Court, which he beat by a length and a quarter.
Winning rider Finny Maguire (two days) and Rory Devine, who partnered the runner-up (three days) both received whip bans.
And, despite a brief jink going to the final fence, the Lenny Whitmore-trained Kilford, ridden by Luke Dempsey, captured the Follow Us On Twitter Handicap Chase, battling on the run-in to beat The Doorman and front-runner De Benno in a blanket-finish.