Rampant Roco Roja turns on style

The Ado McGuinness-trained filly Roco Roja, impressive on her debut in Killarney two weeks ago, proved the star of last night’s Gowran Park action, landing the five-runner Ladies Day June 20 Fillies race in emphatic style.

Held up by Declan McDonogh and showing signs of her inexperience, the daughter of Strategic Prince quickened well to beat Shazeena by two and a half lengths with Urbestchance third.

“She was good, still very green, but she quickened up well and put the race to bed quickly,” stated winning trainer McGuinness.

“I don’t know how good she is, but she works like a very good filly at home.

“We have options for her at Ascot. But she’s entered for a Group 3 in Fairyhouse (the Brownstown Stakes) and we might have a look at that.”

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Sir Isaac Newton, considered a potential Derby horse over the winter, got off the mark at the third attempt, when justifying 4/6 favouritism in the opening Irish Stallion Farms Maiden.

Ridden by Seamus Heffernan, he looked green but responded to a slap down the neck and one behind the saddle to assert inside the final furlong, stretching away to beat Stop And Linger by more than three lengths.

“He’s one we always liked,” stated Heffernan. “I expected him to win well and expect more progress from him. He’s not short of boot, but a mile and a quarter might end up being ideal for him.”

Pat Smullen declared: “She’s a little bit fussy, but the race worked out perfectly for her,” after the Willie Mullins-trained Laviniad beat the other 7/2 joint-favourite Toccata Blue convincingly by three lengths in the one-mile Gowran Park Handicap, the second leg of a double for the seven-times champion.

Laviniad swept into the lead early in the straight and was never threatened.

Smullen said: “The fast pace suited her and she dropped the bridle. Everything worked out well and she showed what she’s capable of.”

Smullen was also successful on Donal Kinsella’s Ducky Mallon, who held Sofi’s Spirit by a head in the Gowran Park Golf Club Handicap, a performance which prompted his trainer to state: “He’s a nice horse and waited his time. And we’ll try to win another with him soon.”

Willie McCreery, who has no firm plans for his Irish 1,000 Guineas third Devonshire, saddled Rivers Of Babylon to land the finale, the Irish Stallion Farms Median Auction Maiden.

Ridden by Connor King, she made all to beat the Dermot Weld-trained debutante and favourite Eshera by two and a half lengths.

“She deserved that,” said McCreery, “She was like a handicapper in that race. She had a good draw and I told Connor to make use of it, to keep it simple. And she got a few lengths out of the stalls. I have no definite plan, but we’ll probably look for a little listed race somewhere.”

The in-form combination of Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning struck again when Ringside Humour, the only filly in the four-runner field, triumphed in the Summer Festivals Rated Race, challenging up the inside to beat Seaforth by a length and three-quarters.

“She’s very brave and tough and a consistent filly, “ said Bolger’s representative Ger Flynn.

“She got a lovely run up the rail and did it well. She’s two from two here and has won three for us this year. She’s in again at Fairyhouse tomorrow and we’ll see how she is in the morning.”

Nuaghty But Nice, trained for JP McManus by Charles O’Brien, opened her account when getting the better of Zelos Dream in the Kilkenny Handicap, Frean Berry’s mount battling to and the spoils by a head.


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