Third in last year’s Investec Derby but off the track since last August, Amhran Na Bhfiann made a successful return to action when coasting to a 13 lengths victory in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk Maiden in Dundalk this evening.
As expected, the Aidan O’Brien-trained 1/4 shot outclassed his 13 rivals, prompting rider Seamus Heffernan to report: “He’s a highly-rated, genuine, sound, strong horse. My tactics were simple, that he stays and to let him roll along.
“He’s a strong galloper and is a horse with a future.”
Earlier, Declan McDonogh summed-up Belmont Avenue’s two juvenile starts.
“He was unlucky in Cork and the ground was too slow for him in the Curragh,” stated Declan McDonogh, in the wake of the Zoffany colt’s victory in the one-mile maiden.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge, the 7/4 favourite, saw off Golden Lyric by two and a quarter lengths. McDonogh added: “He’s a nice horse, did well over the winter and showed a good turn of foot out there.”
McDonogh went on to complete a double on Denise Foster’s The Abbey in the two-mile handicap.
Johnny Murtagh registered his first two-year-old success of the season when Lord Gorgeous, the only runner with experience, justified 11/8 favouritism in the opener, bouncing from the stalls and making all to hold market rival Elzaam Tales by a head.
“He’s a nice colt and the experience helped him although it wasn’t easy coming down the middle of the track, on his own,” commented Ben Coen, stable-jockey to Murtagh who has the €200,000 Ballyhane Stakes at Naas on August 2 in mind as this colt’s main target for the season.