The Curragh is only 35 miles from Dublin, but the usual rush hour motorway madness meant many punters were still stuck on the M7 for the first race at the recent Friday night fixture.
They were the lucky ones.
As we expected the arrival of fast ground has seen a big revival in Jim Bolger’s fortunes.
He had Vocatus, who would have had a squeak, entered for that opener but due to a temperature he couldn’t run.
Kevin Manning switched to the other Bolger runner Copia Verborum who scooted home at 33/1.
Bolger said “I was a bit surprised Kevin initially opted for our other runner though he had some experience and that might have swayed him.”
“But this colt had been working well and he’ll be able to step up from this I’m sure.”
All the money, the milk and honey, had been for Ballydoyle runner Cape Of Good Hope an 8/11 hotpot who faded to fourth.
That was about the only disappointment of the meeting for Donnacha O’Brien who bounced back in the next on Dom Carlos.
A market drifter – “eights” to 11/1 – his success came as no surprise to Joseph O’Brien who said “He has stepped up with each run and I liked him from day one.”
The bookies were on good terms with the world at this stage but 5/2 jolly Soffia brought them back to earth in the next.
Well backed in the offices during the day and in the betting ring at the track she won snugly under Robbie Downey.
Trainer Eddie Lynam said “She’s one of the few Kyllachys I have, and I don’t know why as he was the sire of the best horse I ever had Sole Power.”
No respite for the layers in the next as improving sprinter Blue Uluru followed up a highly impressive Navan win when obliging here as a 5/2 market leader.
While some are starting to think that the far side is now favoured at Headquarters, Colin Keane took the traditionally favoured route up the stands rail which paid dividends in a tight finish.
Strong support for One Master in the featured Ballyogan Stakes but the William Haggas trained, James Doyle ridden 13/8 favourite never stood a chance.
It was notable that while Ballydoyle invariably have multiple entries for all big races, Actress was their sole entry here from very early in the week.
While she had gone off the boil a bit once the ground changed in the middle of last season, back on a fast surface now at her beloved Curragh she was clearly going to give the colts plenty to think about.
In truth this was over almost as soon as it had begun as Seamie Heffernan popped the 11/2 chance out in front and she led them all a merry dance.
This was a seriously good performance. While fast ground is a must, we’ll see at Royal Ascot next week whether or not she is just a Curragh specialist.
Seamie was on target again in the next, booting home the nicely backed – 9/2 to 7/2 – Remmy D for Joseph O’Brien.
There is no stopping the O’Brien family and Joseph and Donnacha combined for what looked the bet of the week in the last.
Tissiak was an 11/8 hotshot and supporters were counting their winnings a long way out.
Donnacha clearly had a double handful in third even before they turned for home and she cruised to victory.
Lure Of The Sea was a market rival and ran a fine race in second and looks a potential Dermot Weld banker for Galway.
Tissiak has loftier targets and now goes for the Irish Oaks. What a penalty kick she was in this maiden.
If only the game was always so easy!
Declan’s Irish Racing Service is in hot form lately with winners including Zorion 15/2 (won 10/3); Actress 6/1 (w 11/2); In A Pinch 7/2 (w 3/1); Timi Roli 7/2 (w 10/3); Change Of Velocity 3/1 (w 9/4); Hardback 5/2 (w 4/6); Kalaxana 2/1 (w evens); Dumhach Thra 15/8 (w evens); Lethal Power 13/8 (w 11/8); Tissiak 6/4 (w 11/8); Espere 11/8 (w 11/10) and Clique 11/10.
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