Minding gets off the mark in impressive style

Beaten by Tanava on her debut, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Minding impressed when landing the two-year-old fillies maiden in Leopardstown last night.

Ridden by Seamus Heffernan, the Galileo filly quickened in good style before the furlong-pole to triumph by five and a half lengths. Heffernan enthused: “She ran a nice race and gave me a nice feel. She has a bit of class and quickened up well. Hopefully, she’s nice – she’s certainly taking the right steps.”

Minding will, presumably, step into stakes company next time, with the Group 3 Silver Flash, back at Leopardstown in three weeks, an obvious target.

The other two-year-old event, the seven-furlong auction maiden, went to the John McConnell-trained newcomer Play The Game, ridden by Gary Carroll, which go the better of Hollywood Road with odds-on favourite Fisherman’s Blues only third.

“We knew he was a nice horse, but there’s tons of improvement in him,” stated a delighted McConnell, who trains the lawman colt for the Rockview Racing Club. ”He had never been away before today and was very green when he got here.

“There are no easy Leopardstown maidens and this fellow is a good horse that should stay a mile. He has plenty of raw ability and we’ll have to see where we go next.”

The tough and consistent Ishebayorgrey registered his third win of the season when getting up late to beat dead-heaters Zunera and Glimmer Of Peace by a half-length in the six-furlong Racecourse Of The Year Handicap.

The Clodovil colt is trained by in-form Pat Martin, who declared: “He’s as tough a horse as I’ve ever had. Him and Colin (Keane) are a good team and well-matched. Six furlongs is probably his best trip and Colin felt he was always going to get there. I don’t often back my horses up so quickly (the winner ran in Gowran on Sunday), but he takes his racing well. He’s due a little break now.”

Colin Keane, Pat Smullen’s nearest pursuer in the title race was seen at his strongest when completing a double on Toccata Blue, trained by his boss Ger Lyons, in the Le Bruin Handicap.

The tough grey came through strongly in the final furlong to beat fellow joint-favourite by a half-length, giving Keane his 29th success of the season. Shane Lyons commented: “A mile is his perfect trip, with a good pace, so Colin can sit in and take his time. He’s been a great servant and likes to be fresh. He’s entered in a few places over the next few weeks, but I’m not sure where he’ll go next.”

Hurricane Sky, apparently struggling a half-mile from home, was produced late by Fran Berry to foil Landau by a head in the concluding Leopardstown Summer Membership Handicap.

The winner is trained for J P McManus by Charles O’Brien, who said: “We just about got away with running him on that ground. It’s a bit strange, but I think winning the charity race in Limerick did his confidence the world of good.”

Apprentice Ross Coakley is riding better than ever and notched his third win in a week when bringing the Denis Cullen-trained Baby Dinnis from off the pace, after a tardy start, to foil favourite Firecrown in the Delorentos Apprentice Handicap. “She did a good bit of work early in the week, so I was fairly confident,” said Cullen. “She’s quirky in her own way but is a progressive filly.”

Andy Slattery saddled the consistent Creggs Pipes to win the five-runner fillies maiden, Declan McDonogh’s mount making al and battling bravely to hold Ibergman. Slattery explained: “We were going to go for the Summer Handicap at the Curragh on Saturday. She’s 4lb. out of the handicap but, if she bounces in the morning and gets in, we might run her.”

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