Rome set for National tilt

Trainer Pat Flynn has his sights set on next month’s National Stakes for Designs Of Rome following his convincing win in the ISF 2-Y-0 Maiden in Naas yesterday.

In the frame in his two previous starts, the Holy Roman Emperor colt was always close to the pace under Danny Grand and stayed on well up the hill — in very testing ground — to beat favourite Mouteab by two lengths.

Flynn enthused: “I’ve said from that start — from the time he was broken — that he’s one of the best I’ve trained. He’s a proper horse, but still quite weak, and is improving all the time.

“He was coming back from a break today and I felt he might need the run. But Danny was happy with him and said he won easily. He’s in the National Stakes and that’s where he’ll go.”

A step into stakes company is planned for Lightnin’ Hopkins in the wake of his half-length defeat of Boston Rocker in the three-runner Breda Miley 2-Y-O Race.

The Ger Lyons-trained Kodiac gelding, winner of his maiden over course and distance, raced along, under Gary Carroll, up the centre of the course and finished close to the stands rail. Meanwhile, Boston Rocker (Shane Foley) set the pace on the far side, tracked by Blue Bullet (Pat Smullen). It was not until inside the final furlong that onlookers realised there was little between Lightnin Hopkins and Boston Rocker, separated by the width of the track. But, as Boston Rocker drifted right close home, it became clear that Ger Lyons’ charge had the advantage and prevailed by a half-length.

Lyons explained: “The ground is as bad as I’ve seen all summer, bottomless and tacky. And, when it’s soft here, the pace to be is wide. This horse hates that ground and the only chance we had was to stay wide and it worked. It was a bonus for him to win in bad ground and he deserves his chance in a stakes race now.”

Successful at Galway last Thursday, the Dermot McLoughlin-trained Sadler’s Mark followed-up in the Naas Apprentice Handicap, Colin Keane’s mount sweeping past favourite King Of Dudes early in the final furlong to win convincingly. McLoughlin, who is considering a crack at the English Cambridgeshire with the Sadler’s Wells gelding, before he goes hurdling, commented: “The horse is in savage form, which helps, and came out of his Galway race very well. Colin (Keane) is a good rider and was the most experienced lad in the race.”

Pulled up in Galway, the versatile eight-year-old Beau Michael notched his thirteenth career success when landing the Sallins Hurdle.


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