Bocca Baciata eases to success at listed Victor McCalmont Stakes

Bocca Baciata returned to winning form when landing the listed Victor McCalmont Stakes, feature of yesterday’s eight-race card in Gowran Park.

A third winner in twenty-four hours for Jessica Harrington and Colm O’Donoghue, the 6/4 favourite was in command from the furlong-pole but gave her supporters a few anxious moments as O’Donoghue eased her heavily close home and only held the persistent challenge of the Dermot Weld-trained three-year-old Discipline by a head, the pair stretching six lengths clear of the third, Steip Amach.

Winning trainer Harrington commented: “The Curragh race (seasonal debut in heavy ground) was a non-event, so I’m delighted she’s back on track. 

“She put it to bed quickly and Colm let her cruise in. 

“He was very happy with her. We’ll see how she is before deciding where she’ll go next – she has plenty of entries in good races.”

Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen provided the Aga Khan with a double in the maidens as 8/11 favourites Shamreen and Ezanak triumphed in convincing style to continue the fine form of the Rosewell House team.

Placed in two starts this season and beaten by the high-class Somehow last time, Shamreen made most of the running to win the fillies event by two and a quarter lengths from Shes An Art, prompting Weld to comment: “The Leopardstown maiden was very strong and she did what we expected her to do. That was a good workmanlike performance by a filly I like.

“She’s very relaxed and genuine and should progress as the season goes on. I expect her to get some black type in time.”

The well-touted Ezanak completed the Weld double when making a successful debut in the finale, the Thomastown Maiden, getting the better of Radar O’Reilly by a length and a quarter.

“He’s a nice colt, backward last year, and has been working nicely,” explained Weld.

“I thought that was a professional performance and he won’t mind going a mile and a half. I’ll look for a ‘winners of one’ for him in a few weeks.”

Willie McCreery saddled first and second in the €29,000, seven-furlong fillies handicap as Champagne Or Water, ridden by Billy Lee (picked up a one-day whip ban), proved a length too good for stable-companion Colour Blue (Connor King).

“They’re good two mares and I hate seeing one beating the other, but it’s hard to keep them apart. 

“The draw probably beat Colour Blue. But the winner has been working well, is very honest and can carry weight. I’m not sure where they’ll go, maybe to the Curragh for a seven-furlong fillies handicap,” said McCreery.

The Ger Lyons-trained debutant Tony The Gent (Colin Keane) swooped late to foil favourite Schubert by a head in a three-way photo to the opening seven-furlong maiden.

Lyons admitted: “I thought he was beaten in the photo, so it’s a nice surprise.I thought he’d run well, but this is a bonus. 

“He’s named after Tony O’Callaghan, the man we bought him off. This fellow is a good, honest type, just like his sire (Kodiac).”

Mint Chai completed a double for Lyons, Keane and owner Sean Jones when digging deep to see off French Blue and Ebediyn in the 188BET Race over an extended nine furlongs.


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