Merroir continued Joseph O’Brien’s rich vein of form and provided Donegal teenager Dylan Browne McMonagle with the second leg of a 15/1 double when landing the featured Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap in Ballinrobe.
A tough stayer, Merroir, in the colours of her owner Max Morris, was registering her second win, keeping Port Sunlight at bay by a half-length, with the pair stretching clear of the remainder.
The winning rider, on his first visit to Ballinrobe, commented: “I got a lovely lead and I went for home knowing she stays well. She kept finding when Oisin’s filly got to me.
“She’s a filly that needs a good gallop and trip. She hit he line well and seemed to have a bit left in the locker.”
The teenager had initiated his double on John Murphy’s Holy Roman Emperor filly Fearless Girl in the Treacy’s Pharmacies Handicap, holding the persistent challenge of Magnetic North by a half-length and prompting the rider to state: “She needed every bit of the trip.
“I had to keep forcing her forward, but she toughed it out well. More cut in the ground would help her.”
Browne McMonagle was denied a treble when his bold front-running tactics on Misty Millie were foiled by the late challenge of Eoin Doyle’s Secret Sea, described by her trainer as “a nice dual-purpose filly”, and Billy Lee in a division of the GAIN The Advantage Series Handicap.
The Dermot Weld-trained Umneyaat belatedly opened her account when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, a ninth winner of the season for Oisin Orr.
The 4/7 shot tracked the leaders and delivered her challenge on the home turn before holding the late surge of 66/1 shot Manwal by a half-length.
Orr explained, “She didn’t really handle the track and ran off the last bend. She travelled very well and I probably hit the front plenty soon enough, but she was always doing enough in front.”
Off the track since last July, and gelded in the interim, the Ger Lyons-trained Phoenix Cowboy (Sam Ewing) got off the mark when outpointing My Mate Mozzie and Dewcup in the Paddy Smyth Memorial Apprentice Maiden.
“The break and being gelded helped him, and he was very genuine today,” said Ewing while Shane Lyons added: “My father is from Louisburgh and it’s always nice to come back here – they always provide great ground and facilities.”
The Jessica Harrington-trained Alice Kitty justified 8/11 favouritism in the John Madden & Sons Claiming Race but had to work hard to get the better of front-running Whyzzat in the final furlong to triumph by two lengths.
Subsequently claimed by Muse O’Ryan to join Philip Makin in England, she was ridden by Shane Foley, who said: “She’s a grand, genuine filly.She’s sound, but not a great mover. We went a good gallop and she kept going – she gives it her all.”