Robbie Downey, chasing 2013 champion Connor King in the race for the apprentice title, rode out his 5lb. claim when partnering Go Kart to a convincing win in the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Maiden at Down Royal yesterday.
Patrick Prendergast’s home-bred daughter of Intense Focus made it third-time-lucky when beating Kotonic and Jenniechild.
Her trainer stated: “She’s a very fast, quick ground filly. So dropping back to this fast five furlongs helped her.”
“She’s still quite immature and is still learning. Robbie said she was still a bit green in front. I’d say Dundalk might suit her.”
The At The Races sponsored Ulster Cesarewitch produced a fitting outcome as the Willie Mullins-trained Whiteout, second leg of a double for Declan McDonogh, dead-heated with Paul Fahey’s gallant twelve year old He’llberemembered.
Tom Madden set off to make the running on He’llberemembered, a twelve year-old maiden on the flat, in this two and a quarter mile test.
But, having shaken off his challengers in the last half-mile, Fahey’s charge looked beaten when Whiteout, apparently travelling strongly, edged ahead at the furlong-pole, with Declan McDonogh oozing confidence. But strong handling from Madden and He’llberemembered’s determination saw the longtime leader battle back bravely, getting back up on the line to force the dead-heat.
Trainer Fahey, who is Willie Mullins’ farrier, and Whiteout’s owner David Lawlor expressed their satisfaction at sharing the spoils, Fahey explaining: “He has a big heart and didn’t deserve to lose.
“He has one more job to do, to win a race for the lad leading him up, my son Aaron who’ll be sixteen next month.”
Gelded since his last run, Downforce won the seven-furlong Irish Stallion Farms Maiden, proving too strong for Peleponnesus and favourite Street Taipan to initiate Declan McDonogh’s double.
McDonogh reported: “Pat Smullen told me that dropping back a furlong would help.
“He was always going well and picked up well when I switched him out.”
Willie McCreery said: “He’s a grand horse, but was a bit weak when he ran early in the season. So we went home and he was gelded. He’ll go handicapping and, after a summer off, he’ll head for Dundalk.”
Apprentice Gary Halpin explained: “She was good and quick out of the gates and travelled sweetly,” following Flirt’s gutsy victory in the Belfast Live Nursery, his first ride for trainer David Wachman.
The Duke Of Marmalade filly, a rare winner on the level for Gigginstown House Stud, edged ahead before the home-turn before being headed by runner-up Fair Game and battling back to triumph by three-quarters of a length.
Halpin completed an 89/1 double and brought his seasonal tally to eleven when Knights Templar defied top-weight and led home a one-two for trainer Pat Flynn in the Daily Mirror Handicap, bursting through well inside the final furling to win by a length from Twistsandturns.
“Conditions were ideal for both horses and, while I was hoping they’d divide the race, it’s always nice to win,” said Flynn while Halpin added: “He’s getting older and wiser and doesn’t want to get there too soon. Pat says that he loved being taken back and produced late. It worked out well.”
The Jessica Harrington trained Ms Brinkleys, ridden by Fran Berry, justified favouritism in the two-year-old auction maiden, scraping home from the gambled-on Remarkable Lady and Roc Of Gold.
The polytrack in Dundalk beckons for Scenic Star after his narrow victory over Ondamoura in a finish of 25/1 shots for the Apprentice Handicap, an outcome engineered by apprentice Gary Phillips and described by his trainer Gavin Cromwell as “a nice surprise”.
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