Zawara, trained for the Aga Khan by Dermot Weld, landed the five-runner Thomastown Race in glorious sunshine in Gowran Park, holding the late surge of Eaglefield.
Dropping back in trip, having attempted a mile and six in the ‘Vintage Tipple’ on this track early last month, the four-year-old daughter of Dubawi mastered front-running favourite Cormorant with two furlongs to race and looked set for a comfortable win.
But Kevin Manning produced Eaglefield with a determined late challenge and, at the line, only a neck separated the Dylan Browne McMonagle-ridden winner and the Bolger runner, with Georgeville, having his first run for Ger Lyons, back in third.
“That was a nice performance,” stated Weld, “She got some black type last year and the plan is to get more over the coming months. That’s lovely summer ground out there, but she’d appreciate more of an ease. And Dylan was very good on her — he’s a very good young rider.”
Joseph O’Brien struck with another two-year-old and provided Dylan Browne McMonagle with the first leg of a double when Hadman made virtually all in the opener and held-on from Unconquerable and Once Upon A River in a three-way photo-finish. The winning rider received a one-day ban for crossing before the marker-poles.
With stable-jockey Colin Keane on board his father’s Miss Molly T, Gary Carroll (picked-up a two-day whip ban) seized his opportunity on the Ger Lyons-trained Sh Boom (12/1) in the featured Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Handicap as the five-year-old mare dug deep to keep Acquiescent at bay by a head.
“Gary knows her well and was very good on her,” said Shane Lyons, “His plan was to stay wide, to keep her on her own, and it worked out well. She deserved it — she’s been knocking on the door.
Training honours went to Sheila Lavery, who completed a double in the handicap action with recent Roscommon winner New Hill and Moddy Poddle.
Ridden by Robbie Colgan, New Hill (100/30) made virtually all the running to take the Golf At Gowran Park Handicap at the expense of Gegenpressing.
And Siobhan Rutledge gave Molly Poddle (11/4 favourite) a similarly positive ride to take the concluding apprentice handicap, beating Himalayan Beauty by two lengths.
After Woodland Garden’s emphatic win in the fillies maiden, Seamus Heffernan, later handed another six-day whip ban, declared, “She’s improving with racing and I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t win a stakes race over that trip, or further.”
Ado McGuinness received a pre-Royal Ascot boost when the eminently consistent Hidden Spark (Cian Mac Redmond) took a division of the 45-65 handicap.
The second division went to the Hayes brothers, Paddy and Chris, with 12/1 shot Gatsby Cap.
Meanwhile, front-runner Schone Aussicht continued the rich vein of form being enjoyed by Henry de Bromhead and jockey Mike O’Connor, when holding favourite Clonbury Bridge by three-quarters of a length in the Toals Bookmakers Rated Novice Hurdle in Downpatrick.
Another jockey-in-form Cathal Landers struck again when Mark McNiff’s Mr Moondance blazed the trail and stayed going to take the Vainstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
And Dubliner Dylan Johnston savoured his first success in the saddle when Harry Smyth’s Willyouwalkwithme (18/1) pipped Master Cornwall by a nose in a division of the 80-95 handicap hurdle.