The Aidan O’Brien-trained I Can Fly had little difficulty in winning the €26,000 Get A Run For Your Money With BetVictor Fillies Race (6.45pm) at Dundalk last evening, and in the process gained free entry to the £150,000 Ladbrokes Fillies And Mares Championship Final at Lingfield.
The seven-furlong Polytrack contest was a Fast-Track Qualifier, with the winner now guaranteed a place in the £150,000 Ladbrokes Fillies And Mares’ Championship over the same distance and surface on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 19.
Drawn in stall four, The Ryan Moore-ridden 1/3 favourite raced in second as Annie Fior (Brendan Murphy/Séamie Heffernan, 100/1) took the four-strong field along.
Going well within herself as the runners entered the home straight, four-year-old Fastnet Rock filly I Can Fly took the lead with a furlong and a half to run and lengthened well when pushed out in the final furlong to win by an easy eight lengths from Surrounding (Michael Halford/Ronan Whelan,9/4), with Waitaki (Dermot McLoughlin/Conor Maxwell, 50/1) another length and a half away in third.
Her trainer, Aidan O’Brien, commented afterwards:
“I am delighted with I Can Fly. She is a lovely filly and it is great to get her started. Our plan is to go to Dubai with her for the nine-furlong (Group 1 Dubai Turf, Meydan, March 30).”
The O’Brien/Moore combination had to settle for second in the €75,000 Listed BetVictor Patton Stakes for three-year-olds over a mile, a contest which is part of the European Road to the Kentucky Derby. The race went to Mick Halford’s Playa Del Puente, who maintained his 100 per cent record on Polytrack at Dundalk.
Winning trainer Michael Halford said:
“Tonight was his third win for his new owner – he has won a maiden, a winner’s race and again tonight – so I am sure he is delighted with the horse. The Kentucky Derby wasn’t the plan before tonight! I am sure we will have a talk about it, but we have made plans for the horse to ship to Hong Kong in early May.”