The Aidan O’Brien-trained Most Gifted (Donnacha O’Brien), unplaced behind Alpha Centauri in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas last time, was sent off 2/5 favourite for the four-runner event over seven furlongs but got involved in a pace duel with Gasta (Kevin Manning).
Meanwhile, Hoban took his time, tracking the leading pair before challenging with more than a furlong to race. In front inside the final furlong, the five-year-old mare ran on to beat Gasta by two lengths, with the favourite only third.
“It was a lovely race for her and, the way it was run, it was an ideal opportunity to drop her in,” said Halford, “The owners are local, so it’s great to win here with her. We tried a tongue tie on her, but I’m not sure what benefit it was. She hit the line well and will campaign in some of the big handicaps, but the main aim will be to get some black type for her.”
Cava, in the colours of her breeder Harry McCalmont, proved a shock winner of the opening two-year-old fillies maiden, overcoming another newcomer My Laureate and sparking a double for Joseph O’Brien. Ridden by Seamus Heffernan, the Acclamation filly hit the front a furling-and-a-half from home, was headed by the runner-up inside the final furlong, but fought back well to score cosily by a half-length.
“I was always comfortable,” said Heffernan, “She’s smart and straight-forward and won nicely, and she should stay further.”
The O’Brien double was completed when Waitingfortheday, up 8lb for a win in Leopardstown last week, captured the Summer Family Fun Day July 8th Handicap, quickening well for Donnacha O’Brien to take command before holding the late surge of It’s All A Joke by a half-length.
“She’s a grand little filly, very uncomplicated,” said Donnacha, “She was probably value for more than the winning margin in Leopardstown and did everything right tonight: She broke smartly, travelled great and picked-up. And it’s nice to get another win with her.”
Runner-up in his previous three starts and having his second run for Gordon Elliott (from Jessica Harrington’s), Arion Racing Club’s Loving A Boom belatedly opened his account when justifying 4/7 favouritism in the six-furlong Fairyhouse For Club Fundraisers Maiden, beating market rival National Glory by three lengths. A son of Acclamation, he made all under Declan McDonogh and won readily, prompting trainer Elliott to comment: “He was entitled to do that on his form and is a grand horse. I’d say he appreciated the nice ground and will be a fun horse for the lads, they have ten horses with me.”
Trainer Dermot McLoughlin, currently on holiday, missed seeing Waitaki (10/1) land the La Bucca Restaurant Handicap, swooping down the outside under apprentice Danny Sheehy to beat Coreczka by three-quarters of a length.
The five-year-old Invincible Spirit mare, successful once from 15 starts for Dermot Weld and bought for just €3,500 last February, was scoring at the fourth attempt for McLoughlin.
The talented but not always reliable Total Demolition, trained by John Larkin, ran out a convincing winner of the Toals.com Bookmakers Handicap, powering into the lead before the furlong-pole before beating Scoil Naisiunta by a length-and-three-quarters.
Larkin acknowledged the contribution of Denis Coakley, father of winning rider Ross, explaining: “Ross’s dad gave me a loan of a Monty Roberts blanket to help him in the stalls and it made a difference. Unlike most of last year, the ground ands trip were right and we’ll campaign away with him, with Galway very much part of the plan.”