Fran Berry starred with a big-race double on Hint Of A Tint and Bocca Baciata at the Curragh yesterday.
Hint Of a Tint followed-up her Topaz Mile success at the Galway festival with a convincing victory in the €100,000 Tote Irish Cambridgeshire while Bocca Baciata proved a facile winner of the Group 3 Dance Design Fillies Stakes.
Trained by David Wachman for J P McManus’ daughter Sue Ann Foley, Hint Of a Tint defied a 9lb. hike for her Galway success, travelling sweetly all the way before beating gallant favourite Portage by a length and three-quarters.
Frank Berry, representing both the winning owner and trainer, commented: “That was lovely. She travelled away well and loves the ease in the ground. You couldn’t ask for more from her.
“It’s nice to see her coming back – David has done a great job. She seems to be back to where she was as a three-year-old. She has won two nice handicaps, two grand races and she’ll probably stay in training next year.”
Earlier, Jessica Harrington expressed herself “delighted” by the impressive victory of Bocca Baciata in the Dance Design as the Big Bad Bob filly, confidently handled by Berry, routed her rivals, scoring by four lengths.
“It’s great to get her back,” declared Harrington. “We’ve had a bit of a difficult summer with her. But Fran said she gave him the same feel today as she did when she won in Navan (back in mid-April when she beat subsequent dual Group 1 winner Pleascach).”
And she stressed: “It’s all about the ground – it must be at least yielding for her and that will determine where she goes. There are a lot of good fillies around. She’s in the Blandford (back at the Curragh in two weeks). Nine or ten furlongs suits her well, and we might try a mile and a half before the end of the season.”
Jim Bolger’s two-year-old Smash Williams confirmed the impression made on his debut over course and distance last week when proving an emphatic winner of the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes, quickening well to beat Rockaway Valley by a length and three-quarters in the hands of Kevin Manning.
Bolger admitted: “He looked just as good today as last week! He’s a quick horse and settled the issue very quickly.”
And he explained, when quizzed about future plans: “I will give some thought to the Middle Park (Group 1), but I’m not keen to pitch him in against such experienced horses. He has only come on the scene recently and I’m a slow learner.
“We’ll stick to six or seven furlongs for the moment rather than go up to a mile. But he should get a mile in time and it’s good that he handles soft ground.”
Aidan O’Brien completed a double in the early juvenile action, 5/4 favourite Beacon Rock getting up on the line to land the maiden before stable second-string Kind Of magic (14/1), ridden by Seamus Heffernan, foiled stable-companion and favourite How High The Moon in the listed Flame Of Tara Stakes.
After Kind Of Magic’s success, O’Brien commented: “They’re two lovely fillies and will make lovely middle-distance fillies next year. Kind Of Magic improved from her first to her second run (n Galway) and we always felt that stepping-up to a mile would bring more improvement. She’s a classy filly and stays well. We have lots of options for her.”
The Ballydoyle double was completed when the Joseph O’Brien-ridden Beacon Rock, having his second run, but off the bridle at half-way, got up for a last-gasp, short-head victory over25/1 shot Precious Gold in the mile maiden.
“He’s tough and hardy, but is still a big baby,” said O’Brien, “He’s very green and did well to win.”
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