Found remains a short price for the Investec Oaks despite being beaten by 25-1 outsider in Iveagh Gardens on her return to action in the Canford Cliffs EBF Athasi Stakes at the Curragh yesterday.
Already a Group One winner, Found was favourite for the Qipco 1000 Guineas all winter but was ruled out of the Classic at the 11th hour after a minor setback meant she had missed some crucial work.
Rather than head to Newmarket, Aidan O’Brien was happy to let her run 24 hours later, despite the ground being heavy, and she appeared to be doing just enough entering the final furlong.
However, Niall McCullagh was getting a strong effort out of Charles O’Brien’s filly, and she flew past Found close home to win going away by two lengths.
Coral reacted by pushing Found out to 5-1 from 4-1 for the Oaks behind 7-2 favourite Legatissimo, winner of the Guineas in the same colours.
O’Brien was far from downhearted by Found’s reappearance, saying: “I’m very happy with that, and she just got tired on the bad ground.
“We needed to run her before the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and that is where she will go now.”
The winning trainer said: “When the ground gets like that not many handle it. But she doesn’t just handle it, she enjoys it.
“That (Group Three) is on her CV now, and it makes a big difference to a filly.
“What she does now will obviously depend on the ground, but she could travel again.”
Tombelaine (11-2) wore down the giant Endless Drama to give Dermot Weld successive wins in the Power European Breeders’ Fund Tetrarch Stakes.
Following on from Alkasser 12 months ago, Tombelaine did not have to show improved form given the calibre of horses he ran against last season.
He beat French Guineas hope Highland Reel on his first outing and then ran into the likes of Gleneagles, John F Kennedy and Ol’ Man River.
“It was an excellent performance, but he’s been mixing it with the very best,” said Weld.
“He was beaten by Gleneagles and Ol’ Man River so it was good he could do that on ground which was unquestionably too soft.
“He’s a tough colt and will obviously appreciate better ground. This is a logical prep race for the Irish Guineas and he’ll probably take his chance now in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
“If he doesn’t run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas then he could go for the Jersey Stakes.”
Weld and Pat Smullen doubled up when Fascinating Rock landed odds of 2-5 in the So You Think EBF Mooresbridge Stakes.
A smart three-year-old last year, he won both the Ballysax and Derrinstown Derby Trials.
He came up just short at Epsom and in the Irish equivalent, but was much more at home on softer ground.
Smullen said: “He’s much more mature mentally now than when he came here for the Derby and at Epsom.
“I thought he did it very well because it’s deep ground.
“We always maintained he wanted cut but I thought he laboured until I gave him a crack, then he tried really hard to the line.
“Parish Hall is a fair yardstick but I feel in better conditions he’ll be better again.
“If we go steady away and pick and choose, hopefully we’ll have him back to Group One level.”
Weld added: “He did what you would expect him to do. He’s a very good horse. He could go for a lot of those races that Famous Name ran in before, and in the second part of the year could have more serious challenges.
“He loves soft ground. He’s a more relaxed horse this year than last year. He’d never want firm ground. The Tattersalls Gold Cup could be considered if the ground was suitable.”
State Of Emergency (2-1) maintained his unbeaten record and looks one of the best early-season juveniles around after winning the Zoffany European Breeders Fund Race.
Having won the first two-year-old race of the season for Michael O’Callaghan, the Dandy Man colt appears to have thrived in the 36 days since that outing.
O’Callaghan said: “That was workmanlike, but the ground is very tough and Emmet said it is proper testing ground. He’s tough and just grinded it out. He’s crying out for better ground, where he can use his turn of foot.
“The Marble Hill is the obvious choice now and all going to plan he could be a Coventry horse. He’d appreciate an extra furlong.”
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