The five-year-old, trained by Noel ‘Iggy’ Lawlor, was a four-time winner at Dundalk last year, rocketing up the ratings from 52 to scoring last night (off 77) in convincing style from Zaindera and In Salutem, to the delight of those who supported her from 8/1 to 5/1.
“She’s a tough little thing and just keeps improving,” stated a delighted Lawlor. “She’s better at five furlongs than six on grass. Rory gave her a breeze yesterday morning and said she’d win tonight. All the credit goes to him and Derek McCormack – they do all the work with her. We’ll see what the handicapper does to her after this before making plans, but we could be looking at some of the big sprint handicaps.”
Having competed in hot company, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Waterloo Bridge got off the mark — at the fourth attempt — when justifying 9/10 favouritism in the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Maiden.
The Zoffany colt travelled well and, when produced, battled under strong riding from Joseph O’Brien to hold Gift Wrap by a head. They came close in the last fifty yards, but a Stewards Enquiry let the result stand.
Joseph commented: “He’s a nice colt, with plenty of ability, but he’s a bit keen at home. He did things right and has plenty of speed. Hopefully, he’ll continue to progress.”
The O’Brien team completed a double when even-money favourite Tesseract (owned by J P McManus) proved a facile winner of the bumper, galloping on relentlessly after narrow leader Sixth Avenue ducked out soon after turning into the straight.
The Trans Island gelding was a third winner in less than two weeks for Sarah O’Brien, whose trainer-father commented: “He was very green in Punchestown and was more professional tonight, although I was a bit worried when the other horse disappeared and left him alone in front. But he quickened well and is a nice horse. I’d say he’ll go for a winners bumper – he could go to Galway.”
Another successful favourite was the Jessica Harrington-trained Barnacle Bill which built on his debut third at Leopardstown, to land the Follow @tipperaryraces On Twitter Median Auction Maiden in convincing style under Shane Foley.
The grey Big Bad Bob colt came from mid-division and stayed on strongly up the straight to beat Harasava by a length and a quarter.
“It was only his second run and he’s still a bit green,” explained Harrington, “Shane said they went very hard for three furlongs and then slowed down. When he was in front up the straight, he was only going through the motions. He appreciated the better ground up the straight.
“He’s a big three-year-old and should continue improving – he’ll be a smashing horse next year.
“He should stay further and we’ll see what mark the handicapper gives him.”
The other flat event, the Tipperary Youth Raceday Handicap, went to Rodger Sweeney’s Daliyan, which battled courageously for Kevin Manning to get the better of Shadagann by a half-length, with Dancingwithangels third.
“He stuck at it well and conditions were right for him – a flat track and he wants ease,” said Sweeney,
“He loved it out there and we might look for a race in Galway- he ran a cracker to finish third there last year.”
Favourite-backers were on then mark in the first of the hurdle races, the Tipperaryraces.ie Maiden Hurdle, as the J P McManus-owned Copy That, an eye-catcher when fourth on his debut in Sligo, proved a convincing winner, taking the lead three from home before proving almost five lengths superior to Annadiamond.
Winning trainer Eddie Harty said of the Mark Walsh-ridden Milan gelding: “He was entitled to win on his Sligo form and it wasn’t the strongest contest. He won well and I’m delighted with him.
“I’ll have to talk to Frank (Berry) about whether we’ll go on with him or put him away for the summer. He has a lot of developing and strengthening to do.”