Willie McCreery saddled two impressive winners when the Flat brigade travelled to Killarney to wrap up the May meeting. The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Fillies’ Race was the most valuable contest on the card and Cigamia justified long odds-on favouritism despite not being entirely suited to the soft conditions.
The lightly-raced three-year-old had contested three Group 3s since her winning debut, and this drop in grade provided the opportunity to get back to winning ways. She raced keenly in the hands of Billy Lee and had to work to get by Alizarine, but she dug deep to do so and will be seen to better effect as the season progresses.
“It’s been a nice race for me over the years,” said McCreery. “Bumbasina won it three years ago, and her first offspring, by Siyouni, is unbeaten in Australia. Erysimum also won this and then went on to win a listed race down here.
“Cigamia is a grand filly, and the more experience she gets the better. I thought she travelled lovely but just didn’t quicken in the ground. She’s a lovely filly going forward, and we’ll now look to Royal Ascot with her. The Niarchos family love to have runners there, and the Sandringham might suit her.”
McCreery and Lee doubled up with the promising All Lies Ahead in the Killarney Racegoers Club Maiden. A fine fourth in a good maiden on her only previous outing, she travelled strongly this time and took over early in the straight to record a smooth success.
“She was just a backward filly last year and so we gave her time,” said McCreery. “I thought she ran a lovely race in Limerick when Nathan (Crosse) rode her- he was very kind to her.
“She was a bit free with Billy today, but he said it rode like good ground on her — she loved it. We’ll probably try to find a 'winners-of-one' next, but we’ll give her a bit of time because she’s had two quick runs.”
Billy Lee completed a 24-1 treble when Beamish overcame a long absence to win the Geaney O’Neill Commercial Mowers Ltd Race. Winner of his only previous start, on good-to-firm ground in June of last year, the Paddy Twomey-trained colt faced very different conditions this time, but the result was the same as he challenged late and raced clear to win in style.
Would-be favourite Marhaba Ashmayme and Schiele were significant absentees from the opener, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, leaving just six runners, and Start Line took the opportunity to get off the mark.
Michael Halford’s runner broke best but Shane Foley kept a lid on him as best he could. Favourite Culcor challenged hard, but Start Line picked up well under pressure and, after going clear from over a furlong out, he could afford to ease down for a facile success.
Silken Ladder ran out a well-backed winner of the Irish Examiner Handicap. Ridden by Gary Carroll for Joe Murphy, the handicap debutant moved up to challenge long-time leader Elmos Fire in the straight and while the latter provided plenty of resistance, the 7-2 favourite forged on close home.
“It was her first handicap run but it was a three-year-olds only, so we were all in the same boat and finding out about them,” said Joe Murphy, son of the winning trainer. “She enjoyed the cut in the ground today and didn't look too harshly treated, particularly on her Gowran run. She will be a nice filly for the rest of the year.”
Clear Quartz, who refused to race last time out, at Gowran, put his best foot forward in the Killarney Outlook Handicap. Mark Fahey’s runner travelled well for Gavin Ryan and when asked for maximum effort, he quickened up to win by a wide margin.
Joseph O’Brien, successful with Entropy at Sligo, completed an across-the-cards double when Monty’s Way, ridden by Mikey Sheehy, ran out a cosy winner of the Celtic Steps Handicap.