Aidan O’Brien’s Palace arrived late and fast to land the Listed Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney last night.
Fears the extended one-mile might prove on the short side for the daughter of Fastnet Rock almost proved correct, as she struggled to get in a real blow early in the straight.
But, once she was switched to challenge by Seamie Heffernan, and saw daylight, there was only going to be one winner.
At the furlong pole, Dalkova and Sparkle Factor, the latter faded quickly, were making the best of their way home, but Palace soon powered through and was nicely on top at the line.
Said O’Brien: “She won’t mind stepping up in trip and is a hardy lady. She is in again at the Curragh at the weekend, in the Kilboy Estate Stakes (nine furlongs, Sunday) and the Oaks (Saturday).
“It is very possible she will run, you can do that sort of thing at this time of the season. Ryan (Moore) felt she didn’t stay at Epsom, but whether that was the case, or it was the course, I don’t know.”
Bookmakers began their evening with an excellent result, victory going to Patrick Prendergast’s 16-1 shot King Christophe, who swept through late to beat B Cosmos, in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Median Auction Maiden.
Partnered by Declan McDonogh, it was a good performance on the part of the son of Duke Of Marmalade, who had far from a clear passage in the straight and still had it all to do at the furlong pole.
Said Prendergast: “John Egan rode him in a schooling race at Punchestown and thought he was very smart.
“But nothing went right for the horse at the Curragh and then he jumped the road at Bellewstown.”
Jim Bolger’s Teocht went off a well-backed favourite in the O’Keeffe’s Marquee Hire Rathmore Handicap and justified the confidence.
But, for most of the final three furlongs, you certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be with the daughter of Teofilo, as she found it hard work. But, to her credit, Teocht responded generously to Kevin Manning’s vigorous driving and got up close home to beat Carenza by a head. Manning, however, was found guilty of using his whip with excessive frequency and suspended for one day.
There was further carnage for the layers in the International Hotel Killarney Apprentice Handicap, with victory going to the Denis Hogan-trained Ridestan.
This looked fiercely competitive, but the winner was backed as if defeat was out of the question, ending up what looked a very tight 15-8 shot.
But the wagers were landed, as she stayed on late for Conor Hoban to beat the flattering Lilly The Lioness.
Hogan, saddling the winner of this contest for the third year in a row, said: “He is in again at Leopardstown on Thursday. s
“The trip, a mile and a quarter, could be on the short side, but he will possibly go.”
Yet another favourite obliged in the Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Mares’ Maiden Hurdle, this time to Willie Mullins’ Daisy’s Gift.
Mind you she did take a minor drift in the market, finding 5-4 from odds-on. Ridden by Paul Townend, Daisy’s Gift cruised into the lead going to the last and only had to be pushed out on the flat to beat Give Her Bach.
Mullins completed a double when Daring Carlotta, the fifth winning favourite of the evening, easily landed the Bumper.
His son, Patrick was in the plate and this was over once he asked the imposing daughter of Kayf Tara to lengthen over a furlong down.
Commented Patrick: “She was a bit keen and idled in front, but is one to follow on this ground.”
John Nicholson’s Dashing Lady, ridden by Mark Enright, took the two and a half mile Malton Handicap Hurdle with a lot in hand.
Indeed, she could be mapped as the likely winner a long way from home and the two and a quarter lengths Dashing Lady had to spare at the end over favourite, Fantastic Bob, revealed little of what she had in hand!
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved