Who’s Steph won the Group 3 Munster Oaks at Cork Racecourse, Mallow, on Friday evening, the first of a double for trainer Ger Lyons and jockey Colin Keane, as both also claimed The Hothouse Flowers Play After Racing Maiden.
The four-year-old Zoffany filly, Who’s Steph, kept on well inside the final furlong as the 1/1f held off Aidan O’Brien’s 3/1 shot Peach Tree (Séamie Heffernan) by a length, with John Oxx’s Moteo (16/1) and Ronan Whelan a further length-and-a-half behind in third.
Another favourite, Mackqeez (5/4f) provided Lyons and Keane with their second winner of the night when comfortably holding off Jim Bolger’s Godolphin colt Hamili (7/1) by three-lengths with Karasheni (20/1) under Oisín Orr, another half-length behind in third.
The Cork Derby was won by Joseph O’Brien’s Perfect Tapatino (7/1), completing a double for the trainer, and jockey Séamie Heffernan, who also teamed up in the evening’s opening race, The Matchbook Irish EBF (Fillies) Maiden with Royal Affair.
Both of O’Brien’s inmates got up in tight finishes, with Perfect Tapatino having just a neck and half-a-length to spare over Massif Central (8/1) and Insignia Of Rank (12/1). With the other O’Brien-Heffernan winner, 5/1 chance Royal Affair got the better of Mienvee Flyer (33/1) by three-quarters-of-a-length, with Aqueliga (4/5f) third in a tight finish.
The fast-breaking El Astronaute (11/4f), trained in England by Irishman John Quinn, made a worthwhile visit to North Cork as he won the Listed €50,000 Matchbook Straight Midsummer Sprint Stakes under Jason Hart. Jim Bolger’s Smash Williams (8/1) was three-quarters-of-a-length second, though he never looked like seriously threatening the winner. Ardhoomey (4/1) from Ger Lyons’ yard was another half-a-length back in third.
Aspen Belle (13/2) won the Matchbook Exchange Irish EBF Handicap for Patrick Martin and Killian Leonard. Ideal Pal (5/1) gave Michael Mulvany and Nathan Cross a winner in the Gina & The Champions Play July 12th Handicap (Div 1), while the evening’s finale, the second division of the Handicap went to the Johnny Murtagh-trained Wilderness (20/1) under Shane Kelly.