Last season’s Cheltenham Bumper winner Silver Concorde made a successful return to action when justifying 2/5 favouritism in the two-mile Win A Ski Holiday Racecard Competition Maiden, the first leg of a double for Pat Smullen, in Navan yesterday.
Having tracked the leaders, the Dermot Weld-trained six-year-old edged ahead with more than two furlongs to race and, soon challenged by Rightdownthemiddle, was always doing enough to triumph by three-quarters of a length.
“He just got tired, but he’s a very good horse,” Smullen said.
Weld’s son and assistant, Kris, said: “He enjoyed his summer break and today was all about getting him started. He’s very much a spring horse, so you won’t see him again until he starts over hurdles at Christmas.”
Smullen had initiated his double, which brought his seasonal tally to 103, when the previously luckless, 12-race maiden Chiclet made virtually all to land the opening Kells Maiden.
Partnering Tracey Collins’ charge for the first time, Smullen dictated the pace and, in the closing stages, the 13/8 favourite was always holding the gambled-on Aerialist, which stayed on dourly to be beaten a half-length.
“That was well-deserved,” stated the winning trainer, “She’s very genuine and consistent.”
There was also double joy for Joseph O’Brien who partnered favourites Bazaar and Felix Mendelssohn to victory for his trainer-father Aidan.
Off the track since May, Felix Mendelssohn was ridden with confidence by Joseph, coming from mid-division to deliver his challenge down the stands side for a length and a quarter win over Ceylon.
Joseph said: “He’s a grand, uncomplicated horse. He had a few little problems since he ran, so he should come on for today’s run. He’ll have no problem staying a mile and a half.”
Speaking after Bazaar’s convincing victory in the Meath Handicap, Joseph said: “I was comfortable all the way and he picked up nicely. He’s very laid back, with a good attitude.”
Mohaayed, trained for Hamdan Al Maktoum, produced an impressive performance in the two-year-old colts maiden, stretching clear under Chris Hayes, despite swishing his tail a couple of times, to slam Jinsha Lake by four and a half lengths, with odds-on favourite Giovanni Canaletto (Ruler Of The World’s full-brother) finishing well to take third.
“He’s a nice horse and we’ve always liked him,” said Hayes. “He was green and very raw the first day in Leopardstown, when the penny dropped very late, and that rode like a good race. We fancied him big-time today.”
The Jessica Harrington-trained favourite Bocca Baciata made it third-time-lucky when landing the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden under Shane Foley.
The daughter of Big Bad Bob relished every yard of the one-mile trip in beating Ballydoyle debutante Easter by two lengths. “She wants to go a mile and a quarter,” Foley said.
The winning trainer’s daughter Emma added: “She was due that after her good run in Leopardstown, when the trip was too short — that form has worked out well. It’s nice to get a maiden win with her at two.”
In the other handicap action, the Ken Condon-trained Big Bad Lily, in the colours of local owner Brendan McDonnell, swooped late under Luke Dempsey to repeat last year’s win in the five-furlong Trim Apprentice Handicap, the six-year-old mare foiling Lily’s Prince and Sweetest Taboo.
The Bill Farrell-trained Rocky Bleier came from last to first under Billy Lee to land a tidy gamble (20/1-9/1) in the first division of the Meath Handicap, getting up late to beat Madeira Classic by a neck with Heart In The Air a close third.
“We were waiting all year for the ground,” said Farrell, “He’s improving and still learning about the game. We might look at the October Handicap in Naas.”
nApprentice Gary Halpin felt the wrath of the Navan Stewards following his ride on fifth-placed Gaoth Tire, trained by Johnny Feane, in the opening five-furlong maiden.
Halpin, who is apprenticed to Kevin Prendergast, was found guilty of not obtaining “the best possible finishing position” on the 50/1 shot and was suspended for 21 race-days.
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