Words writes the script on comeback

Off the track for almost a year, since making an impressive debut at the Curragh, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Words captured the Group 3 Munster Oaks, feature of yesterday’s action in Cork.

Words writes the script on comeback

Subsequently described by winning rider Seamus Heffernan as “a little bit delicate”, the daughter of Dansili and Irish Oaks winner Moonstone was settled in last place in the four-runner affair as Roheryn dictated a muddling pace.

Carla Bianca, which usurped the friendless winner as favourite, cruised alongside the leader early in the straight before edging ahead. But Heffernan was closing on Words and, when he delivered his challenge, the inexperienced three-year-old, wearing a hood, stayed on well to foil Pat Smullen’s mount by three-quarters of a length, the pair finishing seven and a half lengths clear of the third.

This was a very pleasing effort by such a raw filly, even in receipt of 17lb. from the battle-hardened runner-up. Heffernan commented: “She’s a filly we’ve always liked and that was a likeable performance, after nearly a year off. The aim was to get her settled and I was confident I’d win from two furlongs down.”

And he added: “I was always comfortable on her – I just gave her one smack down the shoulder, when she changed her legs. She’s just coming now and, with a bit of luck, she’ll keep coming.”

The Pat Fahy-trained Ballybacka Queen, unlucky at the Curragh last time, captured the main supporting race, the €50,000 Cork Derby under a strong ride from Donnacha O’Brien who now needs just one more winner to lose his 7lb. claim.

The ‘Queen’ prevailed by a head in a titanic tussle, with the flattering Unsinkable third. A delighted Fahy commented: “I was very worried about the ground and walked every bit of it. It’s good to firm and I left it to Donnacha to mind her if she wasn’t travelling on it. It’s great to win another handicap with a filly we thought needed an ease.

“We had nothing but hardship with her last year – she was lame for two weeks after the 1,000 Guineas. It’s great to have her back in this sort of form and it was a good call going for this race, another handicap.

“I think there’s another similar race for her at the Curragh on Derby weekend and she’ll probably go there before going back into stakes company – it would be great to win a Group 3 with her.”

The listed Midsummer Sprint Stakes went for export as Line Of Reason, winner of the Paddy Power Scurry at the Curragh, landed the spoils for Paul Midgley and Paul Mulrennan.

The five-year-old scored emphatically from three-year-old Ardhoomey and, if he “bucking and kicking in his paddock” this morning after his journey home, according to Midgley, might take his chance in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

Willie McCreery, successful with Rivers Of Babylon in Saturday’s finale in Navan, shared an early double with Billy Lee, thanks to the convincing victories of Shrill and Ostatnia.

Shrill, a Godolphin-owned daughter of Shamardal, made a successful debut in the two-year-old fillies maiden, quickening well to beat Planchart by two lengths.

“She’s a nice little filly,” said McCreery. “She barely bends her knee, so she likes that fast ground. She’s still immature but has started to blossom a bit in the last month. She might go for a five-furlong listed race in Tipperary (the Tipperary Stakes on July 11).”

Ostatnia will be aimed at the Rockingham at the Curragh, a race her half-brother Osterhase won twice, following her defeat of Zunera in the five-furlong handicap.

“She’s been very consistent and I felt the visor would help her focus on the job. She’s an out and out five-furlong filly,” explained McCreery.

On his first ride back after a ten-month absence (including a six-months drugs ban), Danny Grant partnered the Pat Flynn-trained Art Scene to a runaway win in the Follow Us On twitter Handicap while Gallope (Fran Berry) provided trainer Prunella Dobbs with her first win since August in the concluding maiden.

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