On a day when his The Gurkha proved an impressive winner of the French 2,000 Guineas in Deauville, Aidan O’Brien also took the training honours at Navan where long odds-on favourite Bondi Beach produced an unconvincing display to justify 1/9 favouritism in the Group 3 Coolmore Vintage Crop Stakes.
O’Brien has won this event with star stayers Yeats, Fame And Glory, and Leading Light in recent years, but Bondi Beach sent off a red-hot 1/9 in the absence of Zannda, will have to step-up on this performance if he is to make an impact on his return to Group 1 company.
Settled at the back of the field, in a slowly run race, Bondi Beach improved with Seamus Heffernan down the outside from the three-furlong pole as Toe The Line tackled and headed Silwana. Heffernan had to shake-up his mount to challenge and, when he hit the front, he merely stayed on to beat Toe The Line by a length-and-a-half.
Joseph O’Brien seemed please with the performance, explaining, “You’d have to be happy with that. He idles when he hits the front. He settled well, but they didn’t go very quick and it was a tactical race, which didn’t suit him. I’m not sure whether he’ll go straight to Ascot [for the Gold Cup], or he could run in the Saval Beg [at Leopardstown first).”
The other stakes race on the card, the listed Coolmore Stud Power Stakes, also went to Ballydoyle as Washington DC bounced back from a lack-lustre run in Ascot last time, to triumph emphatically, providing Heffernan with the first leg of a double.
The 13/8 favourite quickened up nicely to put the race to bed and had two-and-a- quarter lengths o spare over Diamond Fields at the line.
Seamus Heffernan partnered the O’Brien-trained favourite Successor for the concluding maiden, but he had to settle for this spot behind 6/1 stable-companion Immortal Bridge, ridden by Donnacha O’Brien.
After Ardhoomey (Colin Keane) captured the five-furlong navanracecourse.ie Handicap, Ger Lyons declared: “Five furlongs on fast ground is what he wants and, if he could breathe, he’d be a very good horse.” The horse traveled strongly all the way before holding the late surge of In Salutem by a neck.
The Patrick Prendergast-trained Callender made it third-time-lucky when winning the two-year-old maiden under Chris Hayes, who said his saddle slipped leaving the stalls. Prendergast said he won’t be tempted to aim the colt at the ‘Marble Hill’, at the Curragh next weekend, which will come too soon.
Laganore, confidently handled by Kieren Fallon, came from last to first to outclass her rivals in the Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Handicap, scoring by four lengths, to the delight of trainer Tony Martin, who said: “She’s a big filly and time has helped her. Hopefully, she’ll continue to improve and I’d like to get some black type for her later in the season.”
Jessica Harrington, successful with Gambling Girl in Killarney a few minutes earlier, completed an across-the-card double when Hint Of Frost, appreciating the drying ground, proved an emphatic winner of the Follow Navan On Facebook Handicap for Colm O’Donoghue.
The Willie McCreery-trained New Classicism (Billy Lee) will go handicapping following his gutsy win over Kidd Malibu and favourite Lustrous Light in the mile maiden.
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