Ballybrit has always been a special place for Dermot Weld and the master of Rosewell House struck with a spectacular 636/1 four-timer at the Galway track last evening
Weld saddled a one-two with Zhukova and Almela in the listed Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes in addition to providing the Aga Khan and Pat Smullen with three winners, two-year-olds Ebediyin and Simannka and the three-year-old filly Alveena.
Weld captured the ‘Oyster’ for the first time since 2001 as 7/1 shot Zhukova, ridden by Galway man Leigh Roche, foiled even-money favourite Almela, the mount of stable-jockey Pat Smullen, by a head, with Ebayya a fast-finishing third. After the victory of Zhukova, a home-bred Fastnet Rock filly, Weld explained: “They are two very nice fillies and battled it out well. The winner ran a super race in Cork last time and, on their recent work, I knew there wouldn’t be much between them.
“Experience won it for this filly – it was as simple as that. We’ll look for a Group 3 for her before the end of the season. She’ll have to travel and might go for the Princess Royal.
“Almela is still very immature and she’ll go for the new listed race at Naas (the Bluebell Stakes over a mile and a half on October 18). Hopefully, they’ll both stay in training next season.”
Earlier, Weld commented: “He’s a beautifully-bred colt – his half-brothers and half-sisters were pretty illustrious – and I hope he’ll live up to it,” after newcomer Ebidiyin (6/1) got up late under Pat Smullen to foil favourite Cole Porter and Al Mohalhal in a finish of heads to the Donnelly’s Of Barna 2-Y-0 Maiden.
And he added: “He’s a lovely colt in the making, very lazy and idle at home, but the type I felt would come alive when he got to the track. He stays well and will be a lovely mile and a half horse next year. If he runs again this season, it’ll be in the Eyrefield Stakes (a mile and a furlong) at Leopardstown.”
Rosewell House struck with another juvenile when Simannka, blinkered for the first time, on her fourth start, got the better of another Aga Khan-owned filly, the Michael Halford-trained Rayisa in the median auction fillies maiden.
Drawn high, Pat Smullen got cover on the daughter of Mastercraftsman before switching to the outside on the home-turn and, having hit the front inside the final furlong, the 9/4 favourite had a head to spare at the line.
Weld commented: “She deserved that – she had run very consistent. The concern was the outside draw. The blinkers helped to sharpen her and Pat got her into the position I wanted him to be in, with a bit of cover. She’s run four times and I’d say that’s it for the season. She’ll come back in the spring for a Guineas trial. Sshe appreciates some ease in the ground.”
A memorable evening for the Weld team was completed when Alveena, narrowly denied in Wexford last time, came from off the pace to land the concluding maiden, providing Weld with his fourth win and a third for both Smullen and the Aga Khan.
Weld said of Alveena, a daughter of Medicean, “She was a shade unlucky not to win in Wexford and deserved to win her maiden. She’ll go for a handicap now.”
In-form apprentice Ross Coakley notched his third success in a week when top-weight and 25/1 shot Shamar, trained by Keith Watson, proved a shock winner of the Galway Apprentice Handicap.
And, less than twenty-four hours after a 50/1 success in Dundalk John Murphy saddled Best Not Argue (Colin Keane) to win the James P Cunningham Electrical Handicap by a length from Splashtop.
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