FICTIONAL Account, under a fine tactical ride by Pat Smullen, landed Her Majesty’s Plate in good style at Down Royal last evening.
With nobody keen to make the running, Smullen allowed the Moyglare bred mare to dictate the pace, had most of his rivals in trouble early in the last half-mile and, clear turning for home, the daughter of Stravinsky kept going well to beat Knight Eagle by a length and three-quarters.
Winning trainer Vincent Ward has a good strike-rate with horses bought out of Moyglare and Rosewell House and commented: “That’s fantastic. We were going to go to the Curragh with her but the conditions of the race and the ground were ideal for her here.
“Frank Broad and myself only have a small string, but they’ve all been running well. This mare will probably go for the Irish Cesarewitch now and we’ll try to get some black type for her next year.”
Fictional Account was the second leg of a double for former champion Smullen, bringing his seasonal tally to 74, six ahead of reigning champion Johnny Murtagh, the double initiated when Ancient Sands, trained by Joanna Morgan, needed strong handling from the Offaly man to see off stable companion Equus Ferus in the seven-furlong nursery.
“He’s still a big baby,” stated Morgan in the winner’s enclosure. “He’ll make a lovely three-year-old next year. Pat tells me he needs time and not to run him more than once more this year but there’s a suitable race for him at Fairyhous next Sunday and that’s where he’ll be going.”
Matching Smullen’s double was Fran Berry, who scored on Natalisa and the gambled-on Emrani (6/1 to 7/2), both trained by John Oxx.
Natalisa, a Green Desert filly trained Oxx for Lady Clague, bounced back after a dismal last run in Naas to make all in the opening House Of Fraser 2-Y-0 Maiden. Fran Berry bounced the well-backed 5/2 favourite smartly from the stalls, edged over to bag the favoured rails position and was always in command, beating longshot Extra Steps by a length and three-quarters.
Winning rider Fran Berry said: “She got upset in the stalls in Naas and ran no race. The horses weren’t sparking at the time and she was beaten after a furlong.”
Berry followed-up when Emrani landed the finale the Victoria Square Irresistible Handicap narrowly from fellow-joint favourite Alpine Glade, denying trainer Willie McCreery a double.
Emrani needed plenty of persuasion from Berry but fought tenaciously when tackled by Alpine Glade to land the spoils, giving Berry his 67th winner of the season.