The Curragh-based trainer Ken Condon had his first taste of Classic success on Saturday when his 25/1 shot Romanised won the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, the opening Irish classic of the season.
The win gave jockey Shane Foley his second Classic victory following the win of Jet Setting in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas in 2016.
The winner, Romanised, held off the Ballydoyle brigade which included the challenges of U S Navy Flag and Gustav Klimt, to cross the winning line with two and a quarter lengths to spare.
Condon, formerly based with trainer John Oxx, described the feeling of joining what he called “a select club” of Classic winning trainers:
“To win a Classic is magic, especially on our own doorstep, is just magic. It’s a very select club and to actually step into that club feels like you are walking through special doors.”
Despite Romanised being the trainer’s first winner of the 2018 season, Condon said of his now Classic-winning three-year-old:
“He’s a horse we always thought a bit of. It is a huge thing to come here and you don’t really think you can win. We thought he’d run well and hoped he would but he worked the best he ever did all spring last Tuesday. We knew we were a long shot but I felt he’d run a big race.”
On a day of top class action at the Co. Kildare venue, former Australian Group 1 winner, Merchant Navy, was part of an Aidan O’Brien four-timer as he put up a highly impressive performance in winning the Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes.
Jockey Ryan Moore, who rode Merchant Navy to success, rode a treble for O’Brien, with Just Wonderful winning the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (Fillies) Maiden and Hence taking the one-mile “Where Chanpions Are Made” Fillies Handicap. Séamie Heffernan rode the other Ballydoyle winner as Fairyland took the Cold Move Irish EBF Marble Hill Stakes. Heffernan brought up his double on the card when steering Joseph O’Brien’s Medal Of Honour to a win in the Curragh “Where Champions Are Made” Handicap.
Elsewhere on Saturday’s card, trainer Willie McCreery won the FBD Resorts Handicap with Patuano, while English trainer Mick Channon’s Opal Tiara defeated Aidan O’Brien’s even-money favourite Hydrangea to take the Lanwades Stud Stakes.
Sunday’s action at The Curragh features the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas which goes to post at 4.10pm. The other Group 1 race on the card, The Tattersalls Gold Cup over a mile and two-furlongs at 2.25pm, will feature last year’s Investec Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher. The eight-race card gets underway at 1.50pm with the concluding race due off at 5.55pm.