THE John Oxx trained Haziyna powered to an impressive victory in the featured Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Fllies Handicap at Navan yesterday.
Raised 15lb. for a seasonal debut win at Leopardstown but beaten at Dundalk last time, the Aga Khan-owned Halling filly quickened into the lead at the two-furlong pole before stretching clear under Ben Curtis to beat Night Glimmer by five and a half lengths.
“That was a bit clear-cut,” commented Oxx. “She just doesn’t like the polytrack. We learned that the last day and she won’t be going back to Dundalk.
“She’ll probably get hammered by the handicapper again and it’s going to be hard to win another with her. We’ll probably try to find another fillies handicap.”
Haziyna’s win was compensation for followers of the Oxx camp after the earlier defeat of 1/3 favourite Wakhan in the navanracecourse.ie Maiden.
The Dalkhani colt, runner-up to stable-companion Zanughan on his recent debut on this track, tackled front running Nantucket Bay and looked the likely winner with three furlongs to race.
But the Aidan O’Brien trained Nantucket Bay, ridden by his son Joseph, showed greater enthusiasm for the battle and ultimately edged ahead to triumph by a length, fulfilling the promise of his debut fourth (under Kieren Fallon) behind Admiral Of The Reds at Leopardstown last week.
Joseph O’Brien said: “He was very green at Leopardstown but learned a lot from the run. He was tough and very game today.
“When Johnny’s horse (Wakhan) picked up, my horse matched him and stayed on well up the hill. He’ll stay further and should continue to improve.”
The colours of Mrs Sue Magnier, successful on Nantucket Bay, were also in the winner’s enclosure after the opening two-year-old in which the David Wachman-trained Orchestra Leader came from off the pace to outpoint Snowflake Dancer and the Aidan O’Brien-trained odds-on favourite Boris Grigoriev (Joseph O’Brien) inside the final furlong.
Showing plenty of improvement from his debut run at the Curragh, the son of Van Nistelrooy won by a length and a quarter and impressed winning rider Wayne Lordan. “He’s a nice colt that will stay further. He needed his first run at the Curragh and has improved a lot.
“They went very fast and I was flat out and struggling at halfway. But I always felt they were going too fast and he kept going well.”
The Ger Lyons-trained Casbah Rock, second over a mile and a half at Dundalk on Friday night, bounced back to register his third win of the season in the ten-furlong Trim Handicap.
Backed from 5/2 to 6/4, the tough Rock Of Gibraltar gelding made most of the running to beat market rival Il Boro by a length and a half, prompting Lyons to comment: “He’s a horse we always thought plenty of — that’s why we still have him at five years of age. Sean (owner Sean Jones) has been very patient with him. We bought the horse as a yearling but he’s had a lot of little issues over the years.”
“He’s tough — this is the second time he has run back within forty-eight hours and won. He stays a mile and a half, but ten furlongs is his best trip. We’ll look for another similar handicap.”
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