The progressive Qatari Hunter justified favouritism in the €100,000 Nasrullah Handicap, completing a superb 1259/1 four-timer for Jim Bolger and stable-jockey Kevin Manning in Leopardstown last night.
Raised a total of 22lb. for three successive wins in recent weeks, the 2/1 favourite came from off the pace to get the better of Tennessee Wildcat by a head, with Castle Guest two lengths back in third, adding to the earlier wins of promising newcomers Radio Silence and Cirin Toinne and the previously luckless Brontide.
Bolger admitted after Qatari Hunter’s win: “He’s going the right way and, I suppose after his second win, he looked an improver. There might be another one of these in him, but I think his big target is a race in Qatar (the Qatar Derby) at Christmas.”
The successful trainer indicated that the Footstepsinthesand colt, which carries the colours of Mubarak Al Naemi, could step-up to a mile and a half (in something like the Guinness Handicap in Galway), but didn’t specify an immediate target and admitted: “I was a little concerned coming here tonight, because he missed a few days after his run in the Curragh.”
The Coolcullen four-timer was sparked by the well-touted and well-backed two-year-old debutant Radio Silence, the first War Front to be trained by Bolger, in the opening Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Maiden.
The 9/10 favourite took a little time to get organised turning for home but quickened up in the style of a potentially high-class colt to beat Ballydoyle hope Pipes Of peace by two lengths.
Bolger acknowledged: “He could be a smart horse – he has the potential. He might come back here for the Tyros (on July 21) or might go for the Anglesey at the Curragh (July 16).”
Radio Silence, bought for $675,000 out of a Breeze-Up Sale in Florida, carries the colours of Jaime Roth’s LNJ Foxwoods, a new American owner for the Coolcullen yard.
“She’s my last Galileo,” commented Bolger after debutante Cirir Toinne, a half-sister to Glor Na Mara, Wexford Opera and Heavy Weight, landed the Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Maiden at the expense of Etched.
Bolger added: “She needed a little bit of time. She’s a very late foal - a June foal - and we didn’t really train her last year. She’s been a bit slow to learn, but is a nice filly. We’ll look for some black type and I see her as a broodmare.”
After 16/1 shot Brontide made the running and fought back tenaciously for Kevin Manning to pip top-weight Power Struggle in the Jack L Handicap, Bolger suggested: “I revved him up after his last run in Fairyhouse,” and confirmed “He’s always been a great work horse and it’s good to win with him. But I’ll think twice about running him the claimer (in Navan) tomorrow.”
The Kevin Prendergast-trained Aared defied both top-weight and being drawn on the outside of a fifteen-runner field when landing the Leopardstown Handicap in emphatic style under Chris Hayes, who explained: “He had an impossible draw with ten stone on his back and the boss (Prendergast) left me to my own devises.
“So I kept it simple and rode for one run.”
“We were lucky that it was a true-run race and everything went according to plan. This horse is a bit of a yard favourite. I’m not sure what the boss has in mind for him.”
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