Shock news awaited racegoers at The Curragh on the second day of the Irish Champions Weekend, with word that Saxon Warrior and Alpha Centauri, both gallant seconds at Leopardstown just the day before, would race no more.
It’s a cruel sport at times and no mistake, but life goes on and it was first blood to the bookies in the opener when the Bold Lad Sprint proved just as tricky as it looked beforehand.
No question though that the Eddie Lynam trained 20/1 shot Soffia was a worthy winner.
Always in the firing line on the far side she quickened up well up the middle of the track to beat a staying on Smash Williams by three quarters of a length.
Lynam said “When Gary O’Brien of Atheraces didn’t tip her this morning I got worried as he’s her biggest fan.”
“You could never be confident coming into a race like this but she was in fair order at home. Lady O’Reilly has been with us a long time so it’s nice to win a race like that for her.”
“We’ll probably seek some valuable black type now, but she’s won the price of a few drinks today!” Lynam added.
Punters got very much back on track in the next when Yorkshire Oaks third Eziyra justified 11/8 favouritism in the Blandford Stakes.
The four year old has been a wonderfully consistent operator. This is almost certainly her last season in training and Dermot Weld has typically ambitious plans.
First the EP Taylor at Woodbine track in Canada and then the Breeders Cup Fillies And Mares at Churchill Downs.
Karl Burke, on target in the Matron Stakes the day before with Laurens, struck Group One gold again when 15/8 jolly Havana Grey made all in the Flying Five.
The tide had turned big time for the punters now.
Incidentally runner up Son Of Rest has been backed into a crazy price in the Ayr Gold Cup today.
That market plunge should carry a serious Government Health Warning as that Scottish race has proved a real graveyard both for favourites and Irish trained runners.
As a Pivotal colt he will love the heavy ground and the Fozzy Stack yard have finally struck form after a very quiet spell. He will carry 10 lbs. more in future, but, with great respect to all concerned, the Flying Five looked a pretty weak Group 1 to say the least of it.
Best of luck to all aboard the Son Of Rest bandwagon, but it’s a big ask at skinny odds.
As we said the punters, the Billy Bunters, were now cleaning up at The Curragh and local hope Skitter Scatter proved highly popular with all but the layers when justifying 9/4 favouritism in the Moyglare. A small horse but classy and game she found a real finishing kick to reel in Lady Kaya who ran a cracker also.
And no respite for the bookies in the National Stakes as 11/8 jolly Quorto deservedly survived a Stewards Enquiry when beating Anthony Van Dyck.
Then Flag Of Honour made it five winning market leaders in a row when the 2/1 fancy dominated the Irish St Leger from the front.
It was one way traffic for Ryan Moore and this horse could in time prove a worthy successor to Order Of St. George. Indeed in my opinion he would have given stablemate Kew Gardens plenty to think about at Doncaster the day before.
* Another good week for Declan’s exclusive and highly selective Irish Racing Service with I Can Fly 4/1 (won 7/2); Kew Gardens 3/1; Flag Of Honour 9/4 (w 2/1); Sovereign 15/8 (w 8/15); Best Of Dubai 15/8 (w 13/8); Cascadel 6/4; Old Glory 6/4 and Madhmoon 11/8 with each way snip Christmas 10/1 (pl. 9/1).
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