Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan took the twin features at the Curragh with smart three-year-olds Delphi and Armory.
In the absence of Search For A Song, Delphi was a shade of odds-on to complete a personal four-timer in the Group 3 Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial, and he set out to make all as he had done in his three previous wins this season.
He looked set for a smooth win when going clear two out, but Master Of Reality finished strongly to force a photo finish, with Micro Manage offering great encouragement finishing third on his first outing in more than 14 months.
“You probably wouldn’t pick him out in the ring or looking at him at the start, but he doesn’t know when he’s beaten.
“Very few horses will give you 100 per cent, but he feels like he’s giving you that. You don’t have to be the best if you give the most, and he’s one of the most genuine that I will ever ride. He’s gone from a mile to a mile and six, and he might just have a bit of class.” There was also some late drama in the Group 3 Irish Field Celebrating 150 Years Royal Whip in which Heffernan prevailed on Armory.
The 13-8 favourite ran out of room when going for a gap up the inner inside the final furlong and did remarkably well to recover and then quicken between runners to get by Numerian with a neck to spare. It was the colt’s first win of the season and he should be able to hold his own back up in grade, particularly over this trip and possibly a little further.
“I was doing more pulling than pushing for most of the race,” said Heffernan. “He got me out of trouble and was the best horse in the race.” Frenetic bounced back to winning ways in the listed Holden Plant Rentals Curragh Stakes. As is her wont, she set out to make every yard and when push came to shove she found plenty to win with a considerable amount in hand for Colin Keane and Ger Lyons.
Charterhouse had the best form in the opener, the Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden, and John Murphy’s colt made light of the opposition. He travelled particularly well for Robbie Colgan and did not have to have a hard race to come home clear of promising newcomer A Taad Moody.
Dermot Weld introduced yet another promising Aga Khan filly in the shape of Shandra, who ran out an impressive winner of the Loder Irish EBF Fillies’ Race.
Colin Keane tried to make the most of Talacre’s experience by setting the pace, but the winner moved stylishly, quickened up in eye-catching fashion and readily accounted for another promising newcomer, Shahaada.
With a rating of 102, Gold Maze was entitled to win a maiden and Jessica Harrington’s colt, who contested the Irish and Epsom Derbys, made the most of the drop back in class for the Big Picture Communications Maiden. From a high draw, Shane Foley asked his colt to go forward early and he simply dictated throughout and stretched clear late on without having to be asked for maximum effort.
Roving Mission, who had shown plenty of promise without much luck in previous outings, got off the mark in the Derek O’Sullivan Memorial Apprentice Handicap. Nathan Crosse kept Willie McCreery’s filly wide in the straight and she flew home to win quite comfortably.
Johnny Levins is enjoying a fine season and Eleuthera brought the trainer’s tally into double figures when getting up late to take the TRM Kurasyn Handicap in the hands of Donagh O’Connor.