The Zoffany colt, which won at Royal Ascot and chased home stable-companion Air Force Blue in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes last year, hit the front with less than a furlong to race and ran on strongly to beat Alphonsus comfortably by two and a quarter lengths, with Most Beautiful third, completing a double for Aidan O’Brien and Seamus Heffernan.
“He had good form, has plenty of class and did everything right,” said Heffernan. “He travelled well and quickened. He saw the seven furlongs out well and time will tell whether he’ll get a mile.”
The first leg of the Ballydoyle double came in the mile maiden when debutant Long Island Sound, whose dam is a half-sister to the mighty Zenyatta, ran out a convincing two and a half lengths winner from favourite Zilbiyr, prompting Heffernan to comment: “When the penny dropped, he did it well. He’ll improve and will stay further than a mile.”
Coolmore also struck with Posing, trained by David Wachman and ridden by Wayne Lordan, which had to work hard to justify 4/5 favouritism in the Paddy Power Maiden.
Champion-jockey Pat Smullen matched Seamus Heffernan’s double on the night, winning the two-year-old maiden on the Dermot Weld-trained favourite Tilly Trotter (in the familiar The Grey Gatsby colours) and David Marnane’s tough and consistent Jamesie, back from a winter campaign in Dubai, which defied top-weight in the seven-furlong handicap.
Marnane commented: “He’s been running exceptionally well in Dubai and is a tough, genuine horse. I felt the seven furlongs would suit.”