CURRAGH handler John McConnell, whose horses are in fine shape, took his tally of winners for the year to 11 when Eurosmart Lady landed a touch in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden at Limerick yesterday.
The daughter of Kheleyf was a first two-year-old success for her trainer, having been backed as high as 9-1 in the morning and from 6-1 to 5’s on track.
Aidan O’Brien’s Coat Of Arms tried to make all, but had little left when Shane Foley produced Eurosmart Lady to edge ahead just inside the furlong pole.
“She’s a lovely filly that we think will get black type next season”, reported McConnell. “She’s done her job and will be let off now.”
Emmett McNamara took two giant strides towards the apprentice title when guiding Austin Leahy’s Gra Geal Mo Chroi to victory in the Athea Handicap and his father, Eric’s, Noubian to land the Clarina Handicap.
McNamara is currently on the 23-winner mark for the campaign and is four clear of nearest rival, Danny Mullins.
He drove Gra Geal Mo Chroi, carrying the Shannon Spray colours of Jack Fitzgerald, ahead with less than two furlongs to run and she held on well to hold the late thrust of Anamundi by a head.
“It has been difficult to get her into races, but she will now, hopefully, go to Gowran Park on Friday”, said Leahy.
McNamara completed his brace, it came to 186-1, when kicking Noubian clear early in the straight to score unextended by eight lengths.
It was the first occasion the 18-year-old had ridden a winner for his father, absent at the sales at Newmarket, and it was also his first ever double.
Rory Cleary brought Michael Halford’s If Per Chance with a smooth challenge to easily take the Adare Handicap.
Cleary pushed the Danetime gelding ahead over a furlong out and the three-year-old lengthened away to score by a length and three parts.
Said Halford: “The ground was fairly testing for him, but he is fit and brave. He’s had a hard race, so I don’t know If I will pull him out again this season.”
Pat Flynn’s Talkin Kate battled on dourly to beat the flattering Pussyfooting and always prominent Notaseasy two shorts heads in the three-year-old and upwards Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden.
“She’s had muscle problems, but is as tough as nails”, said a delighted, although mildly surprised, Flynn.
Tommy Stack’s Zorija Rose produded a decent effort to defy top weight, the steadier of 9-10, in the Askeaton Handicap.
Billy Lee sent the 12-1 shot for home a furlong and a half out and she shot away to easily beat Kaitlins Joy.
“She’s tough and likes the ground and is probably finished for the season”, commented Stack.
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