Jockey Pat Smullen must have a real liking for the Kilkenny air!
Having married the former trainer Frances Crowley from near Piltown, the county was good to Smullen again when Gowran Park provided him with his 100th winner of the season on Sunday.
Brooch did the trick when landing the featured Group Three Denny Cordell Lavarack &Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes over an extended mile and a furlong.
Trained by Dermot Weld, the American-bred three-year-old won on her previous starts at Galway and Killarney. She had a couple of cross-Channel raiders to contend with, but punters kept faith and sent her off as favourite.
Joseph O’Brien and Regardez made the early running and still held the call entering the final furlong. At this point Smullen was hard at work on Brooch but she responded in the gamest fashion, reeling in the leader almost in the shadow of the post to land the spoils by half a length.
The winning trainer said that his charge has progressed nicely through the ranks. She likes a little ease in the ground and Weld was full of praise for the Gowran Park executive for producing near perfect conditions.
While Brooch will now enter Winter quarters, Weld expects her to be close to Group One standard next season. He was also hugely complimentary when speaking about Smullen, who he described as an inspirational jockey and a major asset the Roswell House team.
For his part Smullen was modest as usual, but conceded that riding 100 winners in a season in this country is difficult as the game has become so competitive.
Weld and Smullen had earlier initiated a brace when capturing the mile maiden for two-year-olds courtesy of Intransive.
The son of Dansili was not neglected in the betting market, in spite of the confidence shown in the Kevin Prendergast runner Aared. Smullen took the bull by the horns right from the drop of the flag and judged his effort to perfection, keeping enough in reserve to quicken clear inside the final furlong and beat Aloft by a couple of lengths.
In his post race remarks Weld revealed that Intransive is on the upgrade and won’t run again this term. He comes from a good old Juddmonte family and should be well up to Pattern level as a three-year-old.
Experience was also the key in the opening two-year-old fillies race over the same trip when Together Forever gained her winning bracket at the fourth time of asking for Aidan and Joseph O’Brien.
A strong market order, the daughter of Galileo came for her race in the straight and soon put clear water between herself and her rivals to win unchallenged by five lengths from the rank outsider Rivers of Babylon.
This was a decent maiden as the winner had been placed at Listed level behind Group One winner Jack Naylor. It will be interesting to see if some of the other runners with top pedigrees can gain a winning bracket before the season ends.
Tommy Stack was also on the mark when saddling Salariaq to land the mile and a furlong maiden for three-year-olds and over. Having finished second on her debut at Killarney the Daaher filly showed improvement. Never too far from the leaders, she hit the front inside the two furlong marker and ran on to hit the wire two lengths over Perishing.
The trainer’s son and assistant Fozzy told me that this is a big raw filly that has taken time and her owners have been very patient. Out of a Group Three winner she needs good ground, so could be one to look for next year.
This was the second leg of a double for Wayne Lordan, who had earlier teamed up with Charles O’Brien to land the first division of the mile 47-61 handicap with Succeed And Excel.
A maiden coming into the race after nine previous efforts, Succeed And Excel put his best foot forward on this occasion by responding well to the urgings of Lordan and lead a furlong or so out before taking the money by half a length from Crecora.
Quartz, who gave Donnacha O’Brien his first victory in the saddle at Dundalk, followed up by giving his 16-year-old rider his second win with a comprehensive success in the concluding mile and a furlong conditions race.
Sporting cheekpieces, Quartz tracked the leaders early on. Donnacha waited until well in the straight before producing him, from where they drew away to win by six lengths from Shamie Heffernan’s Coolfighter. An improving sort, the winner might now be aimed at Listed contest at the Curragh next month.
Like his brother Joseph, Donnacha is on the tall side but rides well. Keeping his weight in check is going to be a problem, but if he can manage that a bright future awaits.