Patrick Prendergast and jockey Ronan Whelan tasted Group 1 success for the first time as Skitter Scatter (7/2f), a daughter of Scat Daddy, came home strongly to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh on Day 2 of Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) September 16, 2018
The Anthony and Sonia Rogers-owned filly, winner of a Group 2 at The Curragh and a Group 3 at Leopardstown this season, had two-lengths to spare over Lady Kaya (8/1) in second, with a further length-and-a-quarter back to the third placed Hermosa (20/1).
Skitter Skatter has achieved much more than Prendergast could have ever imagined. The elated trainer admitted to being overwhelmed by the victory, stating that his task with this filly had only ever been to win a maiden:
“(I) was thinking if she was in the first three it would be a marvellous result and we could head for the Guineas and have a chance of running well in it. Now I’m just starting to think maybe she might win the Guineas.”
Though the possibility of a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup has been mooted, the now Group 1-winning handler says he would prefer to target the 1000 Guineas next season rather than taking a late-season trip to the United States this year.
Aidan O’Brien denied his son Joseph a piece of Irish racing history as Flag Of Honour (2/1f) held off Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Latrobe’s (11/4) bid to become the first horse since 1954 to complete the Irish Derby-Irish St Leger double in Group 1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger, the final Irish Classic of the season.
The victory for O’Brien Senior and Ryan Moore meant the pair completed a weekend St Leger double following the success of Kew Gardens at Doncaster on Saturday. The winning trainer said a decision would be made in the coming days as to whether Flag Of Honour would run again this season. John Gosden’s Weekender, the sole English challenger in the 1m 6f contest, claimed third spot.
Havana Grey (15/8f) completed a Longines Irish Champions Weekend Group 1 double for trainer Karl Burke when winning The Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes under Richard Kingscote. On Saturday, the English handler created a shock when Laurens beat favourite Alpha Centauri in the Coolmore Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. Burke’s three-year-old son of Havana Gold was dominant in the five furlong contest, crossing the line ahead of Son Of Rest (22/1) and Sioux Nation (5/1).
Charlie Appelby’s son of Dubawi, Quorto (11/8f), made it three wins from three when holding off the challenge of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Anthony Van Dyck, and surviving a Stewards’ Enquiry, to win the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes over seven furlongs. Christmas, also trained by Aidan O’Brien, made the pace under Emmet McNamara, until first Anthony Van Dyck, and latterly Quorto, came to challenge him on the outside, before the William Buick-ridden Godolphin-owned colt took charge inside the final furlong to win by a length-and-a-quarter, with Ryan Moore and Anthony Van Dyck having four-and-a-quarter lengths to spare over Christmas.
Dermot Weld’s Eziyra (11/8f), who was down from Group 1 company today, took the Group 2 Moyglare ‘Jewels’ Blandford Stakes under Declan McDonagh from Who’s Steph (7/1) and I’m So Fancy (9/2). The winning trainer immediately nominated the EP Taylor Stakes in Canada as the daughter of Teofilo’s next target, with the Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mares an end of season target for the Aga Khan owned four year old.
Soffia (20/1), a three-year-old filly by Killachy, took the opener, The Irish Stallion Farms ‘EBF’ Bold Lad Sprint Handicap, for Edward Lynam and Danny Sheehy by three-quarters-of-a-length from Jim Bolger’s Smash Williams (20/1), with My Amigo (25/1) the best of a strong British challenge for the €150,000 Premier Handicap a further half-a-length back in third.
The Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sales Stakes of €300,000 went the way of Mick Channon’s Barbill (6/1) under John Egan, a race the British challengers dominated, also filling second and third places with Flashcard (6/4f) and Hot Team (9/1) respectively.
The concluding race of Longines Irish Champions Weekend, The Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Northfields’ Handicap, was won by Hamley (12/1), trained by Peter Fahy and ridden by Ben Cohen.