Former British champion Ryan Moore’s trip to the Curragh proved worthwhile yesterday when Dank, trained by Michael Stoute, proved an emphatic winner of the Group 2 Kilboy Estates Stakes.
Sent off 5/4 favourite, the four-year-old daughter of Dansili — third to Duntle in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot last time — enjoyed a dream run through the race, tracking the leaders on the inside as What Style dictated the pace.
Moore eased off the rail approaching the two-furlong pole and, when Dank was asked for her effort, she soon quickened into the lead. Pushed out, she kept going strongly to beat Say by a length and three-quarters with Caponata getting up to snatch third spot.
Winning trainer Stoute, who has sent few runners to Ireland in recent years, was represented by his partner Coral Pritchard-Gordon, who explained: “I’ve spoken to Michael already and he’s delighted. Ryan was thrilled with the filly and said she was a better filly today than at Ascot.
“She’s a filly with a lovely temperament. She loves that ground and seems to be improving all the time. I’m sure she’ll try to win a Group 1 now.”
Aidan O’Brien unleashed a potential star in the two-year-old fillies maiden, for which his Snow started joint-favourite with Jim Bolger’s Chroussa.
But stable second string Tapestry, a daughter of Galileo and dual Group 1 winner Rumplestiltskin, was produced with a late surge by Seamus Heffernan to foil Chroussa by a half-length.
O’Brien enthused: “Obviosuly, she’s a lovely filly, with a great pedigree. We haven’t asked her to do much at home and she’s still a baby. She should learn plenty from this experience and might run in something like the Debutante Stakes here next month.”
Irishman Declan Carroll, who served his apprenticeship with Dermot Weld and trained on the Curragh before moving to England, savoured the victory of Whozthecat and 10lb. claiming apprentice Luke Leadbetter in the €100,000 Boylesports.com Rockingham Handicap over five furlongs.
Narrowly denied in the recent Paddy Power sprint over six furlongs here, Whozthecat prevailed by a neck from Nafa with favourite Yulong Baoju a head away third. Carroll declared: “I’m training in Malton for fourteen years and it’s great to come home for the biggest win of my career. Luke is a good lad and I made him hold onto his claim over the last few weeks for this. He’s very good value for his claim.”
Leadbetter (17) who was recording his third career success was later cautioned by the Stewards for using his whip above shoulder-height.
The Kevin Prendergast-trained Coquette Noire, in the colours of Lady O’Reilly, came good in the concluding fillies maiden, prompting her rider Chris Hayes to admit: “She was probably feeling he ground a bit but she’s genuine and kept going well.”
The first nursery of the Irish season went to David Wachman’s Fly To The Moon, which denied the Prendergast/Hayes combination with The Organ Grinder.
Trainer Ger Lyons admitted: “It’s a bit of a gimmick of a race, but it’s always nice to win,” after Toccata Blue, under a confident ride by Emmet McNamara, came through to deny last year’s winner and top-weight Susiescot in the Irish Field Grey Horse Handicap.
Adrian McGuinness will choose between the valuable amateur handicap or another two-mile handicap later in the week at Galway for veteran Beau Michael after his gutsy win under Italian Jessica Marcialis in the Fegentri World Championship Handicap for lady riders.
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