Oaks Delight For O’Donoghue

Caim Hill and Brian O’Connell jumping before winning “The Midlands National Handicap Chase.”

Caim Hill and Brian O’Connell jumping before winning “The Midlands National Handicap Chase.”

The fourth domestic Classic of the 2014 flat season took place at The Curragh on Saturday evening and Aidan O’Brien continued his stellar campaign by sending out Bracelet to record a 10/1 success in the hands of Buttevant native Colm O’Donoghue. The 107-rated Bracelet, one of the five runners in the ten-runner line-up for Ballydoyle maestro O’Brien, didn’t altogether break too well out of the starting stalls.

The winning daughter of Montjeu though still edged ever closer from the two-furlong marker and she powered to the front one furlong out to beat stable companion Tapestry, partnered by O’Brien’s son Joseph, by a neck with a similar margin back to Luca Cumani’s British challenger Volume in third spot. It certainly was a memorable afternoon for O’Brien senior in more ways than one for Beyond Brilliance, an initial Classic mount for the handler’s 18-year-old daughter Ana, defied her 80/1 starting price by finishing a further four and three quarter lengths back in fourth spot.

Tramore handler George Kent has his small string in terrific fettle at present and he struck with the three-yea-rold Shanooan in the O’Briens Wines European Breeders Fund Fillies Handicap. Rated 88, Shanooan sprung a 14/1 upset by storming to the front at the furlong-marker to beat Sretaw by three parts of a length in the hands of talented three lb claiming apprentice Connor King. The likelihood is that Shanooan could well attain further success this summer.

There was also racing at The Curragh on Sunday and trainer/breeder Jim Bolger, absent at Sunday’s Leinster football final between Dublin and Meath at Croke Park, missed seeing his Parish Hall win the afternoon’s featured event the Group 3 Meld Stakes. The five-year-old Parish Hall, winner of the 2011 Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, justified strong market support from 2/1 into 11/8 favourite by getting on top close home with Bolger’s son-in-law Kevin Manning to beat Afternoon Sunlight by a half-length.

There was an all jumps card at Tipperary on Sunday and Garrett Power, who trains a small string near Windgap in south Co Kilkenny, struck with Lilly The Lioness in the Packie Downey Memorial Handicap Chase. Fitted with a hood, the mare Lilly The Lioness made all the running and the victorious seven-year-old duly beat Henry de Bromhead’s Worldor by a ridiculously-easy 13 lengths. It’s possible that Lilly The Lioness, who came into this race with a 90 steeplechase rating, will now contest a hurdle race at the forthcoming Galway festival.

Indevan bounce back from a disappointing effort at Kilbeggan last time to destroy the opposition with Paul Townend in the Follow Tipperary Races On Facebook Beginners Chase. The Willie Mullins-trained Indevan, a former more than accomplished hurdler, was another to benefi t from frontrunning tactics and the British-bred duly defeated Thomond by three and a half lengths.

On a truly memorable weekend for Aidan O’Brien, the Co Wexford native sent out Macbride to triumph with his daughter Sarah in the closing Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Flat Race. The JP McManus-owned Macbride in truth had little more than an exercise canter for he eased to the front three furlongs out to slam Notorious Villain by an unextended 14 lengths.

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