Love Potion finds right mix in the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden in Dundalk

Well-backed all day and sent off 11/10 favourite, Love Potion made a successful debut for J P McManus and David Wachman in the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden in wet and windy Dundalk last night.

Love Potion finds right mix in the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden in Dundalk

Ridden by Fran Berry, the Galileo filly came from well off the pace, showing clear signs of inexperience, before getting up late to thwart Double Espresso by a half-length with High Honcho third.

“She did well to win,” admitted the winning rider. “She was very green early and was a couple of places further back than I had planned.

"When I switched her out, she had plenty of ground to make up, but I always felt we’d get there.

"It was a nice start and there’s sure to be plenty of improvement to come.”

Narrowly beaten by subsequent Royal Ascot winner Waterloo Bridge at Tipperary before losing her way, the Michael Halford-trained Gift Wrap (Conor Hoban) earned a valuable winning bracket for the Godolphin team when making virtually all for a convincing six lengths win in the seven-furlong nursery.

Halford commented: “She has plenty of talent, but has always been a bit keen. We’ve been trying to get her to settle, so we could stretch her out over a longer trip, Damien O’Donnell has done great work with her at home.

"We decided that, if there wasn’t much pace, Conor would let her stride on and she won impressively.

“I’m delighted to give Conor (deputising for stable-jockey Shane Foley) a winner – he’s a great team player and works hard all year round,” added Halford.

“She hit the gates well, which is a big advantage here, and has plenty of boot,” was Leigh Roche’s summing-up of his victory on the Pat Flynn-trained Little Sweetheart in the opening five-furlong Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Handicap.

Roche, who took time off last month, was recording his first success since landing Leopardstown’s November Handicap on Silver Concorde.

He’s Our Music looked set to complete a double for the Flynn team in the featured Christmas Race & Dine Packages Handicap before being overhauled inside the final furlong by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Bishan Bedi, ridden by Ana, which scored by three-quarters of a length.

“I won on him here last year and he has kept improving away,” said the successful rider. “He travelled well into the race and quickened well. He’s a grand little horse.”

Udogo, ridden by Donnacha, completed a double for Aidan O’Brien’s Piltown operation when mastering front-running top-weight Sharjah in the finale, the Handicap.

A seventeen-race maiden, with a rating of 77, the Ger Lyons-trained Automated landed the Big Bad Bob Maiden at the expense of market rival and marginal favourite Alamgiyr.

Shane Lyons stated: “He’s done nothing wrong since we got him and was entitled to win his maiden.

“He’s probably our last runner of the year.”

Front-running tactics paid off in both divisions of the mile and a half apprentice handicap, Empresario following-up last week’s win over a shorter trip and justifying favouritism for Matt Smith and Conor McGovern in the first division.

Trainer Dermot McLoughlin, in Aintree to saddle Vics Canvas in today’s Becher Chase, missed seeing 20/1 shot Tortueuse giving Patrick O’Hanlon (17), from Skryne, County Meath, his first success in the saddle in the second division.

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