Aisling Crowe was in the Curragh on Sunday and reviews all seven races at the Kildare venue.
Visit our Partner site ‘Euroodds.co.uk‘ for the latest Euro 2012 odds, tips and betting
2.20pm Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden
6 Furlongs 2yo
1. 2 Gale Force Ten 11-2
2. 5 Leitir Mor 11-10f
3. 4 Hard Yards 16-1
Jim Bolger’s Leitir Mor had run up against two Ballydoyle runners in his first two races and was bidding to make it third time lucky in this opening contest on China Race Day at the Curragh. However an O’Brien trained runner once again foiled his plans and he was forced to settle for second place for the third race in succession.
Both Gale Force Ten and Leitir Mor broke smartly from the gates and the pair disputed the lead for much of the race. The small field was closely bunched in behind and as they went past the two furlong marker the Kevin Prendergast trained Nabat Sultan briefly looked like he would pose a threat.
However that was shortlived and the two colts were left to battle it out between them. Gale Force Ten toughened it out the better of the pair and asserted his authority inside the final furlong to win by a cosy three parts of a length with Hard Yards a further two and three parts behind in third.
Winning trainer Aidan O’Brien was pleased with Gale Force Ten’s performance and the son of Oasis Dream is now Royal Ascot bound.
“We are delighted with him. The ground was a big worry and we were pleasantly surprised that he went on it as we always thought he was a fast horse. We thought he would be a Royal Ascot horse and now he will go for either the Windsor Palace or the Norfolk stakes.”
1. 10 Alsium
2. 3 Cape of Approval
3. 4 Flying Doha
4. 6 Regal Power
The Paul Deegan trained Alsium got the better of a prolonged tussle with market leader Cape of Approval inside the final furlong to land The Irish Field Maiden over six furlongs. The three year old daughter of Invincible Spirit had shaped nicely on her debut at Dundalk last month and the experience really sharpened her up.
Settled in behind the leaders by Chris Hayes, Alsium travelled well during the race and when favourite Cape of Approval made his move inside the second last furlong, Alsium tracked him. The pair moved to the front and settle down to battle it out for glory but Alsium was always doing enough to hold her rival and eventually won by a neck, despite pricking her ears when she hit the front.
Paul Deegan was delighted with Alsium but will wait to see how the filly takes the race before making any plans for her.
“She’s a well bred filly and Mr Higgins has been very patient with her. She’s not overly big and needed a bit of time. The ground today was just soft enough for her and she is going the right way. I think there is more to come from her. I wouldn’t be afraid to drop her back to five furlongs on yielding ground.”
3.20 The Connolly’s Red Mills China Partnership Handicap Six Furlongs
1. 7 Kateeva 14-1
2. 5 Battleroftheboyne 12-1
3. 10 Erins Gal 20-1
Kilfeacle trainer Joe Fogarty was celebrating the first Curragh success of his career after Kateeva’s late surge brought victory in the six furlong handicap. It was a thrilling finish to the sprint handicap as the winner’s purse changed destination several times inside the final furlong. It looked as if Battleroftheboyne’s late charge down the outside would bring him glory but Kateeva finished like an express train along the rail to deny him with Erins Gal two lengths back in third.
Fogarty was thrilled with the win at flat racing’s headquarters but Kateeva’s schedule will be dictated by the weather as the homebred daughter of Statue of Liberty needs give in the ground.
“A winner here is worth any money. We fancied her a little bit beforehand as it’s the only time she’s got her ground. She likes a cut in the ground nad we weren’t looking past today. She got her ground today and that makes a huge diference to her.”
3.50 The Coolmore Stud China Ireland Friendship Silver Stakes Listed Race 10 Furlongs
1. 4 Sharestan 8-11f
2. 2 Defining Year 8-1
Class told in the end for Sharestan who had to dig deep and grind out victory in the afternoon’s feature race, the listed China Ireland Friendship Silver Stakes. The ten furlong trip on the soft ground tested the very limits of the four year old colt’s stamina and he had to be pushed by Niall McCullagh to catch and pass long time leader Defining Year.
Shane Foley on Defining Year set a steady enough gallop in the conditions and Sharestan and Learn were settled in behind. Foley strated cranking it up as the field turned for home and Learn was the first one to feel the pinch and he soon dropped away. Sweet Lightning looked to be travelling best of all for Ben Curtis as the field made their way home.
McCullagh asked Sharestan to go and get Defining Year but the son of Shamardal made hard work of the task. Sweet Lightning was closing all the time but Sharestan’s class got him home ahead of gallant runner up Defining Year.
“It was very gluey ground in the straight and he was on the limit of his stamina. He will be better coming back in trip. He just managed to grind it out. I think he could be capable of better in better company and there is plenty more to come from him. He will probably go for either a Group Three over a mile and a quarter or a listed race over a mile back here on Derby weekend,” said winning trainer John Oxx.
4.20pm The Kildare Village China Race Day Maiden 10 furlongs
1. 5 Vedani 8-1
2. 8 An Saincheann 5-1
3. 9 Faanan Aldaar 9-2
John Oxx recorded a quick fire double as Vedani sprang a minor surprise in the ten furlong maiden. The Currabeg handler had two horses in the race and it was Zalantoun, the mount of Niall McCullagh who looked to be the stable’s first string but Vedani recorded an all the way success.
Ben Curtis sent Vedani into the lead when the stalls opened and he set a steady gallop with the market leaders settled in behind. As the field hit the two furlong marker Vedani came under pressure and it seemed as if the challengers lining up behind would swamp him. However Vedani responded to Curtis and kept plugging on with An Saincheann, Faanan Aldaar and Zalantoun all bearing down on him.
They were closing with every stride but the line came just in time for Vedani. The judge was needed to confirm that Vedani did indeed hang on by rapidly diminishing head from An Saincheann with Faanan Aldaar just half a length behind him and only a neck back to Zalantoun in a tightly bunched finished.
Oxx said: “He did it well and got through the ground. He did a good. Perhaps a mile and a half on good ground would suit him but we will get a handicap mark and see where we go but I think a mile and a half would bring out the best in both horses.”
4.50 Chinese Irish Cultural Academy Handicap 12 furlongs
1. 1 Ursa Major 2-1f
2. 6 Cropley 10/1
3. Filatore 6/1
Ben Curtis recorded a quick double on board Ursa Major. After winning the previous race, Curtis found himself quickly returning to the winners’ enclosure on the impressive favourite.
Curtis was content to settle Ursa Maor towards the back of the field as Cropley cut out the running, with Filatore for close company. The chestnut filly was the first to feel the pressure as the field turned into the straight but to her credit Filatore kept finding more. She joined Cropley inside the two furlong pole but Ursa Major was travelling ominously well as he improved on the outside of the field for Curtis.
The favourite swept down the outside of the field and took over the lead inside the final furlong. He kept galloping to the line and easily went clear of the rest. In the end, Ursa Major ran out a facile seven length winner and if the handicapper doesn’t raise him too much for this performance, there looks to be more to come from hi.
5.20 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies’ Handicap 12 furlongs
1. 6 Livia Galilei 11-4
2. 2 Glamorous 11-4
3. 1 Rising Wind 9-4f
The Jim Bolger trained Livia Galilei put in a good staying performance when landing the spoils in the final contest on China Race Day. The daughter of Galileo had improved when stepped up to this trip at Cork last time out and she showed that middle distances are her forte, staying on best of the field to win the twelve furlong handicap.
Lucciola and Glamorous broke smartly from the stalls and Lucciola cut out the running from Tantalising with Glamorous tracking the leadin pair. Livia Galilei travelled well in the hands of Rory Cleary and she improved on the outside of the well bunched field to shade the lead as they turned into the home straight.
The favourite, Rising Wind, had been held up near the back of the field and was called on for an effort with two furlongs left. Glamorous went in pursuit of Livia Galilei but she was unable to reach her and the winner tayed on smartly through the testing conditions to get off the mark at the fifth time of asking. Rising Wind was slightly disappointing back in third.
Livia Galilei showed no signs of stopping in the sapping conditions and a step up in trip may be on the agend for the three year old, but her trainer will stick to the handicaping route for now.
Afterwards Bolger said: “That was a good effort and hopefully she will get another chance. She appears to stay well and she may get further.”