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Jockey Shane Foley was the star of the show at Naas this afternoon as Irish racing returned from its Covid-19 enforced break.
The Kilkenny rider completed a four-timer with wins on Lucky Vega (9/2), Parkers Hill (18/1), Punita Arora (22/1) and Masteroffoxhounds (9/2).
Foley began with a winner for his boss, Jessica Harrington, when Lucky Vega was a half-length winner of the 6 furlong Irish Stallion Farms EBF (C&G) Maiden.
He followed up an hour later when giving trainer Leanne Breen a winner in the Clinton Higgins Accountants Handicap (Div I) with the Airlie Stud-bred Parkers Hill.
Foley was back in the winners’ enclosure after the next race, the Listed Kuroshio At Compas Committed Stakes, when bringing up a double for Jessica Harrington’s Commonstown Stables with the victory of Punita Arora.
The day got even better for both jockey and rider when Masteroffoxhounds completed a Harrington treble and a Foley 13,218/1 four-timer when claiming the final event of the 8-race card, the 1m Irish Stallion Farms EBF (C&G) Maiden.
Owners James McAuley and Jim Gough’s £2,800 bargain purchase, Sceptical (3/1jf), was an impressive winner of the Listed Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Woodlands Stakes for trainer Denis Hogan.
The former Godolphin horse, who prior to today had notched up three wins at Dundalk, passed his biggest test to date with flying colours, taking a comfortable three-length success under seven pound claiming Joey Sheridan.
Sheridan pushed the four-year-old Exceed And Excel gelding, Ireland’s highest rated sprinter, into the lead a furlong and a half out and easily dismissed the remainder of the 11-runner field.
“He’s a special horse and so easy to train” said winning trainer, Denis Hogan. “I’m delighted for Jim Gough and James McAuley. They picked him out. Jim’s gutted he’s not here as he loves his racing but he has a good horse and he’ll probably go to Ascot next week for the King’s Stand.”
Aidan O’Brien and Séamie Heffernan had a double on the day as More Beautiful (11/4f) and Elfin Queen (13/8f) were both eye-catching winners.
More Beautiful took the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden in scintillating style as the daughter of War Front out of Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Maybe stretched away from the field in the race’s latter stages to win by an easy three and a half lengths.
Elfin Queen, a $1.2m three-year-old daughter of American Pharoah, the 2015 US Triple Crown winner, had six and a half lengths to spare over the late-finishing Aunt Bee (18/1) in the 18-runner Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.
The second division of the Clinton Accountants Handicap went the way of Donagh O’Connor and John Levins as 14/1 shot Nordic Passage stayed on strongly in the closing stages to win for owner Hugh P Ward.
Racing on Tuesday is at Leopardstown.