Sunday Sovereign & Billy Lee win opening race at the new Curragh

Sunday Sovereign (11/4f), with Billy Lee in the saddle, became the first winner at the new Curragh Racecourse as the Paddy Twomey two-year son of Equiano came home a three-length victor over Aidan O’Brien’s Arizona (100/30), in the Coolmore Sioux Nation Irish EBF Maiden, with a further six-lengths back to the big-priced The Peckhampouncer (50/1) in third under Ross Coakley.

Jockey Billy Lee brought up a quick double when also taking the second, The First Flier Stakes (Listed), with the Shamardal filly Ickworth (8/1), trained by Willie McCreery. The Godolphin winner had two-and-a-quarter-lengths in hand over the Ballydoyle War Front favourite, King Neptune (2/5f). In The Present, from the Jessica Harrington yard, was third, a further half-length away.

Dermot Weld and Chris Hayes delivered the Coolmore Churchill Irish EBF Tetrarch Stakes for the Aga Khan when the Dark Angel filly Shelir (8/1) was a one-and-a-quarter-length winner over Eclipe Storm (33/1), who got the better of Flash Gordon (15/2) for second place by a short-head. Michael O’Callaghan’s I Am Superman failed to live up to his name, as the 11/8 favourite finished fifth, while the Aidan O’Brien pair, USS Michigan and Antilles, the highest rated horse in the race, failed to seriously challenge at the end of the seven furlong Listed contest.

Happen came wide and late with an impressive burst of speed to take the Coolmore Gleneagles Irish EBF Athasi Stakes, denying the English challenger Dan’s Dream by a short-head in the Group 3 event. The Michael O’Callaghan-trained Ríonach was a neck back in third in the tighest finish of the day at Irish flatracing’s headquarters.

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