Aidan O’Brien gained an incredible seventh consecutive Irish Classic win when saddling a 1-2 in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Sunday, with Moonstone and Johnny Murtagh prevailing by a dramatic short-head over Ice Queen and Colm O’Donoghue.
The win continues a remarkable season thus far for O’Brien, who is on target to break the world record for Group 1 wins in a season. David Wachman and Wayne Lordan were in double form, teaming up with Bushranger to impressively win the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes for two-year-olds’ and Navajo Moon completed the pair’s brace by collecting the listed Kilboy Estate Stakes. Elsewhere on the card, the Dandy Nicholls-trained, Chris Hayes-ridden Masta Plasta won the Rockingham Handicap in good style.
Pat Flynn’s string generally hit top form approaching Galway and he was on the mark with the Ballybrit-bound Eritrea in the Ferrycarrig Handicap at Wexford last Friday evening.
A winner at Bellewstown on her most recent start, Eritrea assumed command with Danny Grant at the two furlong marker and she then had to be kept up to her work in the closing stages to beat the long absent Strident by one and a half lengths. “She will probably go to Galway now and it’s great for Eamonn O’Riordan of the Sammaya Syndicate who is away on a sun holiday at the moment, “reported Flynn’s representative Martin McGuire.
The Killarney four-day festival by and large occupies centre stage this week. The fixture draws to a close on Thursday (2.25 start) with the featured event on the final afternoon being the Dawn Milk Run Handicap Hurdle. In what’s a wide open race, it should pay to side with Cler.
This Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old quite simply toyed with the opposition when sluicing home by 18 lengths in a two mile one furlong Bellewstown maiden hurdle on July 4th. Already then rated 104, Cler had his mark raised by nine lbs to 113. Whilst this race will reflect a genuine step up in class, Cler seems to be going the right way and he’s likely to dispose of Tony Martin’s Salute Him.
Pillar Of Hercules stands out in the opening Colm Foley Memorial Novice Hurdle. This Pat Hughes-trained four-year-old was most impressive when winning over hurdles at Wexford and Limerick earlier this summer. The wheels came off the bike however on his first start in handicap company when he could only finish ninth behind Rickardstown in a two-mile event at Gowran Park event on June 22nd. Pillar Of Hercules is however a naturally talented sort that’s taken to get back on the winning track here at the expense of January.
Eddie Harty’s Siege Of Ennis will surely go close in the Dawn Omega Milk Maiden over one mile three furlongs.
Siege Of Ennis is a quite talented hurdler, but significantly he also has handicap experience on the flat. On his most recent foray, he finished third to a 85-rated opponent in Merveilles in a one and a half mile handicap at Leopardstown on May 11th. A reproduction of that effort should see Siege Of Ennis accounting for Tribes And Banner here and it’s worth recalling that trainer Harty also won this same race 12 months ago with his subsequent Cheltenham festival winner Captain Cee Bee. Tiamo can avenge his second placed effort at Tralee in late May by showing a clean pair of heels to Deimne in the Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa Handicap Hurdle whilst Connyella looks likely to provide the in-form Pat Flynn with yet another winner by dismissing Tarus in the Dawn Flavoured Milk Handicap.
Tony Martin’s Flashy Beau can supplement last weekend’s Curragh victory by landing the Malton Hotel Winners Enclosure Handicap from Mohtarres and Apposite should justify likely favouritism at the expense of Condarian in the John O’Connell Memorial (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.