On a day which provided across-the-card trebles for Aidan, Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien, progressive Ballydoyle colt Lucius Tiberius came from last to first to record a last-gasp victory in the Irish Stallions Farms EBF Nasrullah Handicap in Leopardstown.
Sent off 7/2 favourite, the Aidan O’Brien-trained, 101-rated three-year-old got up on the line to pip Mawaany by a short-head with veteran Aussie Valentine a similar distance away third in a blanket-finish.
Donnacha, who rode a double on Indianapolis, for Ballydoyle, and Waitingfortheday, for Joseph in Dundalk earlier, arrived late for his ride in the second at Leopardstown but was seen at his dashing best as Lucius Tiberius stormed home, down the outside, to land the spoils.
They went hard up front and I didn’t want to force him early, just to get him into a rhythm,” explained Donnacha. “I waited until we straightened up, knowing he has a nice turn of foot. He’s not a bad horse and is improving with every run.
Most impressive performance of the night came in the opening two-year-old fillies maiden when the Aidan O’Brien-trained Goddess, very unlucky on her recent debut at the Curragh and the only filly in the six-strong field with experience, bounced from the stalls, made all and quickened clear off the home turn to slam nearest rival Munees Gemini by ten lengths.
The Camelot filly was ridden by Seamus Heffernan, who declared. “She should have won at the Curragh -it was a typical Irish race – we all got boxed-in, looking at one another. It’s hard to know how good a race this was, but she’s a very nice filly, way above average.”
In Dundalk earlier, Joseph O’Brien completed a treble as Eon (Shane Crosss) won the opening claimer, Waitingfortheday (Donnacha) completed a hat-trick in the Highline Construction Handicap and Faraday’s Law (Wayne Lordan) landed the finale.
A number of jockeys made the dash from Dundalk to Leopardstown, by car and helicopter, with Donnacha O’Brien, Billy Lee and Chris Hayes all missing rides, due to traffic, before arriving late at the Foxrock venue. O’Brien and Hayes were each fined €200 by the Stewards.
Ronan Whelan, however, struck at both meetings, on Beau Satchel in Dundalk and Tarazani in Leopardstown, and commuted by helicopter.
Jim Bolger is always a force at these summer meetings in Leopardstown and completed a fine double, highlighted by the victory of progressive three-year-old filly Cimeara in the Group 2 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Stanerra Stakes, staying on powerfully to keep favourite Sizzling at bay.
The Vocalised filly has now won twice on heavy ground and, now on good to firm and Bolger commented: “She’s versatile, ground-wise, and stays well.
“The form of her last run is working out and the step-up in trip seemed to help her. On this evidence, she’ll probably stay two miles, which will open more possibilities.” Bolger was uncertain about immediate plans for Cimeara, which holds entries in the Give Thanks (Group 3) in Cork and the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1) in York.
Bolger quipped, “That was definitely the coolest ride of the year,” after Daire Davis (17), younger brother of apprentice Sean (who is based with Ger Lyons), from Maynooth, brought 25/1 shot Signing Off from last to first to land the ‘Booka Brass Band’ Handicap, his first success in the saddle.
“He’s with me a year and, hopefully, he’ll go on from here,” added Bolger, for whom Davis later had the job of leading-up Group 3 winner Cimeara.