Along Came Casey grabbed her third win in as many visits with a comfortable romp in the Listed Hurry Harriet Stakes at Gowran Park.
Sent to post a warm favourite, the daughter of Oratorio was settled just behind the leaders in the race over an extended mile and furlong, and was travelling best turning to face the judge.
At this point the long-time leader Belle De Crecy still held the call but was unable to hold the late flourish of Along Came Casey, who recorded a comfortable three-length success. This looked to be a smart display by a tough genuine mare that may well have long distance travel plans later in the season.
After the race Weld spoke of how the Dance Design Stakes at the Curragh is the next objective. As his charge must have good to firm ground she could well cross the Atlantic to race in America before the year ends.
This was the first leg of a double for the master of Roswell House, who later saddled Calibrate to land the mile and a furlong fillies maiden in workmanlike fashion. Despite a fourth place finish in Galway the daughter of Rail Link started a warm favourite, even with good word spreading about the John Oxx runner Roman Romance. The Oxx charge tried to make every post a winning one but began to send out distress signals early in the straight and in the end finished well out of the money
In contrast Calibrate travelled sweetly in third or fourth place before throwing her challenge at the furlong marker. Running on strongly, she held the persistent challenge of Laviniad to win by three-parts of a length with a further eight lengths back to the third-placed Snow Scene.
Described as a good performance, Weld will now wait the verdict of the handicapper before making any future plans for his charge. Those looking for a certain future winner will have noted the display of the runner-up Laviniad. Trained by Jim Bolger she was ponied down to the start and a shade reluctant to enter stalls, but showed a decent level of ability. On this evidence it will not take her long to shed her maiden tag.
Aidan O’Brien chose the opening seven furlong juvenile maiden to introduce many of his better class two-year-olds to racecourse action - whether Mekong River lives up that tradition remains to be seen. The son of Galileo had to wait for the stewards to intervene before being declared the winner after finishing second to Green Tag.
Starting at cramped odds Mekong River raced in the slipstream of Green Tag but came under pressure at the two furlong marker. To his credit he responded and was hampered by Green Tag who drifted left at the furlong marker and was a neck in arrears at the line.
The inevitable stewards inquiry ensued and it came as no huge surprise to see the result altered with Mekong River declared the winner. It was cruel luck on Green Tag, who just ran as green as grass but on the balance of probability improved his placing. One thing is for sure he will not start at 33/1 when he next appear.
The display of Mekong River is difficult to assess. O’Brien described him as a ‘nice horse’ in his post race comments, which he surely is, but the jury will remain out on his ability until further evidence is revealed.
Princess Aloof put the disappointment of an expensive failure at Galway behind her by giving a convincing display to capture the seven furlong nursery for Jessica Harrington’s stable.
Different tactics were employed here as the daughter of Big Bad Bob broke smartly and made every post a winning one, beating the Aidan O’Brien favourite Bluebell by a length and three-parts. A highly consistent animal, the winner is well regarded by Ms Harrington. A similar contest over a mile at Killarney is most likely the next objective.
Patrick Prendergast, a grandson of the legendary Darkie, is making a name for himself as an up and coming trainer. He was on hand to greet Manalapan after the Six Sense colt swooped late to take the mile and a half McEnery Cup.
Given a power-packed ride by Shamie Heffernan, the three-year-old came with a wet sail in the straight to collar Encrypted Message on the line and land the spoils by a nose.
Having finished second to subsequent Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World on his debut, Manalapan is difficult to keep right but has plenty of ability. A jubilant Prendergast revealed that if things go to plan a Stakes race is next on the agenda.