THE Jim Bolger trained Banimpire is on course for a crack at the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas following another gutsy victory in the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes at Naas last night.
Ridden by Kevin Manning, the tough and talented Holy Roman Emperor filly proved too strong for Spin (best of Aidan O’Brien’s four runners) and Mid Mon Lady to complete a hat-trick of stakes race victories, having already landed the Group 3 P W McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown (Recital finished third) and the listed Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes at Gowran Park.
Sent off 5/2 second favourite, Banimpire had the measure of all rivals through the last two furlongs, but idled in front and had only three-quarters to spare at the line.
Bolger explained: “She’s tough and takes her racing well. She’ll probably go for the Guineas now, and maybe, the (Irish) Oaks after that. She won’t be going to Epsom.”
The John Oxx trained favourite Mesariya tracked the leaders but was unable to quicken in the closing stages and finished a disappointing sixth.
Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning completed a double when well-regarded Claiomh Solais made it fourth-time-lucky when justifying even-money favouritism in the concluding fillies maiden.
Dropping in class after a Group 3 outing last time, the Galileo filly swept past front-running Wee Kitty two furlongs from home and was always holding her only serious market rival. Catch The Eye, by two lengths.
Bolger was on his way home by the time the finale was run. But his representative Ger Flynn reported: “The boss had to go early, but I’ve just spoken to him and he says he’ll consider the Irish Guineas for her now. He’s always rated her a Guineas filly.”
Another possible Guineas runner is the Kevin Prendergast trained Rose Bonheur, which made a successful handicap debut in the six-furlong Naas Racecourse Handicap.
Declan McDonogh allowed the Lady O’Reilly-owned filly assert her superiority inside the final furlong to beat The Reaper readily.
Prendergast said: “She was well-treated on her best form and won well. She’s in both the Greenlands and the Guineas. Lady O’Reilly will decide where she’ll run. She’ll get at least another furlong, but I’m not sure about two.”
Aidan O’Brien completed a double with newcomers Maybe and Choir in the opening two-year-old races.
Maybe (8/1) proved an impressive winner of the opening fillies maiden, making all under Colm O’Donoghue to beat Princess Sinead by four and a half lengths, with the winner’s gambled-on stable companion Ahimsa (3/1 to 15/8) third.
O’Donoghue enthused, “She did it very easily. I would have preferred to get a lead — she would have learned more that way. But she’s smart and could go anywhere.”
Punters got it right in the following Fishery Lane 2-Y-0 Race as the O’Brien-trained Choir, ridden by Seamus Heffernan, landed a tidy on-course gamble, being backed from 4/1 to 13/8 favouritism.
Having disputed the lead, Choir asserted approaching the furlong pole. Heffernan was not hard on the Danehill Dancer colt as he held the late challenge of Naseem Sea with another previous winner Whip Rule back in third spot.
A delighted Heffernan beamed: “He was a bit green but it was a steering job.”
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