Princess Highway will attempt to emulate her dam Irresistible Jewel in Royal Ascot’s Ribblesdale Stakes following a convincing win in the Group 3 Irish Stallion Farms Blue Wind Stakes in Naas.
Trained by Dermot Weld for Moyglare Stud Farm, Princess Highway tracked front running Aloof, backed from 7/1 to 3/1 joint-favourite, before edging ahead two furlongs from home. The Street Cry filly stayed on stoutly up the hill to triumph by a length from Aaraas, with Was plugging on to be third.
Weld said: “That was a nice performance from a lovely progressive filly. She’s still mentally immature and should continue to progress through the season. We can always hope that she’ll be as good as the filly that this race commemorates, Blue Wind, which won the Oaks double for us (back in 1981).”
Regarding plans for Princess Highway, a significant drifter here to 7/2, Weld explained: “Epsom would be a bit premature for her. I won the Ribblesdale with her dam (Irresistible Jewel) so I think that is the logical progression for her.”
Weld was not keen to look beyond the Royal Ascot assignment. But a crack at the Darley Irish Oaks in mid-July might also be on the filly’s agenda.
Successful at the Curragh on the opening day of the season in late March, Dawn Approach followed-up in impressive style in the Fishery Lane 2-Y-0 Race, storming up the hill to beat Canary Row by five and a half lengths.
Kevin Manning oozed confidence on the chestnut son of New Approach before allowing him hit top gear approaching the furlong-pole. From there, it was just a case of how far he’d win by.
As his sire New Approach’s first winner, Dawn Approach is particularly special to his trainer Jim Bolger, who said: “He’s a very smart horse. Kevin says we can go anywhere with him.”
When quizzed about a likely target for Dawn Approach at Royal; Ascot next month, Bolger replied: “We have a choice between the Coventry and the Chesham. I was thinking of the Chesham but, after what Kevin said, the Coventry might be his race.”
Royal Ascot could also be on the agenda for the David Wachman-trained Mironica, who made a pleasing debut in the opening two-year-old fillies maiden, quickening well to lead before holding her eye-catching stable-companion True Verdict by a half-length.
The winner was ridden by Billy Lee, deputising for the suspended Wayne Lordan. “They are two smart fillies, I think,” said Wachman afterwards.
Johnny Murtagh, whose mount Shebella disappointed in the feature, was on the mark when 5/2 favourite Mizani, trained by Michael Halford for the Aga Khan, landed the Kill Maiden.
But the Bachelor Duke colt only scraped home, beating front-running Handaza, also owned by the Aga Khan, by a short-head, leaving the owner’s representative Pat Downes probably the only member of the crowd unconcerned about the outcome of the photo-finish.
The Pat Smullen-ridden Caprella showed good speed throughout the six-furlong Naas racecourse Handicap and looked the likely winner until collared close home and beaten a head by Ger Lyons’ Greek Canyon, ridden by Gary Carroll.
“He’s a lovely little horse, a very genuine type,” commented Lyons. “He’s been leading the two-year-old all year and is a solid six and seven furlong horse. A good tough performer.”
Backed into 5/2 favouritism (from 7/2 on track), the Charles O’Brien-trained Possible readily landed a gamble in the five-furlong Summer BBQ Evenings At Naas Handicap, showing plenty of speed throughout under apprentice Ray Dawson before beating longshot Red Sea Poll by a length and a half. The successful trainer stated: “Five furlongs is her trip, although she might get an easy six. She’ll probably go for something similar, although sprint handicaps are rare.”
Another gamble was landed in the naasracecourse.com Apprentice Handicap when the Bill Farrell-trained Man Of Erin, backed from 12/1 to 9/2, made all to score under Marc Monaghan, beating Morethanafeeling by three lengths.
“He was gelded during the winter and needed time,” commented trainer Farrell, having saddled his first winner since last October. “He’s improving and will come on from today’s run. We’ll take our time with him.”
After a night of mixed fortune, the layers got a screamer of a result in the concluding fillies maiden as Chris Hayes brought 33/1 shot Suzette De Bavay (87/1 on the Tote) with a well-timed challenge to foil favourite Susiescot.
The winning daughter of Whipper is trained by Andy Oliver, who explained: “I’m delighted for her owner-breeders, who have been very patient with her. She’s a half-sister to a good filly I trained a few years ago, Perfect Polly.
“She has taken time to come right. She’s a little delicate and has been quite difficult to train. Chris gave her a lovely, patient ride. And we’ll see how she comes out of the race before making plans.’’
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