The promising Pandagreen overcame plenty of adversity before securing victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Auction Race which opened last night’s card at Leopardstown.
Gavin Cromwell’s filly had shown promise on debut, when an unlucky fourth behind dead-heaters at Listowel, but faced a very tough draw this time.
To increase her task, the imposing two-year-old had to ship a hefty mid-race bump, but showed a most willing attitude as she raced around the outside. Responding generously to Wayne Lordan’s urgings, she got her reward as she prevailed late to score by half a length from Lady Volante, with long-time leader Glenamoy Lad in third.
Said Cromwell: “She is one of my best purchases, at only €9,500. It was a good performance as she was drawn wide and got a bump which cost her a few lengths.
“She’s a big filly and I’ll probably give her a break now and look for something at the back-end of the season. She’s a nice prospect for next season.”
It was a first two-year-old winner for Cromwell, who earned his first Grade 1 over the jumps when Jer’s Girl won the Mares’ Novice Championship Final at Fairyhouse’s Easter Festival.
Midnight Crossing left behind her recent disappointment at this track by taking the Leopardstown Summer Music & Racing Festival Maiden under Billy Lee. Blinkered for the first time, she settled off the pace before being produced with a strong run down the centre of the track.
Schubert tried to make all and was still some three lengths in front when colliding with the running rail at the furlong marker. That cost him his chance, and left Midnight Crossing to go clear for a wide-margin victory.
Winning trainer Eddie Lynam said: “I don’t know what happened the last day, we couldn’t find any excuse, and so I did what I never do – put blinkers on a filly. Billy said she came home well, and was back to herself today.”
Joseph O’Brien’s impressive start to his training career continued with the victory of Eagle Spirit in the one-mile maiden. Third on debut, at this track, he made all the running this time, and found plenty to deny promising newcomers Venezuela and Diodorus – both trained by Aidan O’Brien - by half a length and the same.
“He had a good run on debut, and won nicely here,” said O’Brien. “It wasn’t the intention to make the running, and Donnacha was of the opinion he might be better in a better race, ridden differently. There’s a group race – the Tyros Stakes - back here in a couple of weeks, and he may go for that.”
The handicap confined to three-year-olds on the Monday of the Galway Festival is the target for Zebgrey, who got the nod in a very tight finish to the Nathan Carter Apprentice Handicap.
Ado McGuinness’ horse was brought with a strong challenge down the outside and, in a last-gasp effort, touched off Mr Ormsby.
Mr Right justified strong support when winning at Naas on Wednesday night and the four-year-old followed up with a smooth victory in the Dublin Horse Show 20-24 July Handicap in the hands of Donagh O’Connor.
The Tulip came with what looked like a winning run with a furlong to go but Mr Right, one of the 4-1 joint-favourites, picked up really well from off the pace, and mastered that rival inside the last 25 yards to win with a little to spare.
“He’s a tough horse – he was kicking the door down this morning, so we decided to let him take his chance,” said winning trainer Johnny Levins, who was keen to pass on plenty of the credit to the winning rider. “He was keen down the back, but Donagh didn’t panic, and was very strong on him when he needed to be. We’ll treat him like a good horse now.”
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