Smuggler’s Cove was an impressive winner of the listed Star Appeal 2-Y-0 Stakes in Dundalk last night, giving Aidan O’Brien his third successive win in the race.
Having mastered favourite Bertie Le Belge early in the straight, the Fastnet Rock colt stretched clear impressively to slam Orcia by seven lengths, prompting his partner Joseph O’Brien to state: “He liked the quicker surface and bolted in,” before adding: “I looked over at the big screen a hundred yards out and I couldn’t believe it — I was so far clear.
“He’s improved with each run and is an exciting horse, by an exciting stallion. He could go for something like the Racing Post Trophy.”
Joseph O’Brien completed a near 24/1 double when landing the finale, the Christmas Party Nights At Dundalk Stadium Handicap, on the versatile, Brian Hamilton-trained Wither Hills, which held the late surge of He’s Our Music by a half-length with favourite Unrequited in third.
Michael Halford explained: “Conor is a natural horseman but a bit heavy, so he’ll probably end up jumping,” after Conor McGovern (18), from Clones, had recorded his first success on board five-year-old mare Slipper Orchid in the Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Race, her third win from four starts on Dundalk’s polytrack.
Apprentice Gary Halpin, banned for twenty-one days in a “running and riding” enquiry at Navan on Wednesday, received a welcome boost when partnering Cleveland Street to a shock win over odds-on favourite Blackbriar in the opening Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Race.
The winner is trained by Johnny Feane, who admitted: “This horse is a bit of a comedy of errors and disgraced himself and me in his first two runs. But he’s a different proposition since we gelded him. It suited that he was on his head all the way today. “We might have a crack at the Birdcatcher now.”
Colin Keane notched his 53rd win of the season on board Mansuri, which got the better of Adeste Fideles in the seven-furlong maiden, trainer Ger Lyons explaining: “He’s been consistent and is heading for the Sales (Newmarket) next week — he’ll make a gorgeous four-year-old.”
Liffey View, owned by the Sheahan brothers — Kieran and Liam, got off the mark under Declan McDonogh in the seven-furlong nursery, the Adrian McGuinness-trained Arcano filly earning a crack at a similar contest at Leopardstown on October 25.
* Adrian O’Shea was banned for two days for using his whip with excessive frequency on McDiamond in the opening two-year-old race.
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