TRAINER Aidan O’Brien frequently chooses Gowran Park to introduce some of his choicely-bred juveniles.
Another of these, Indian Maharaja, caused quite a stir on Tuesday as he bolted up in the mile maiden for two-year-olds.
Word from the yard suggested that the son of Galileo was more than useful, which was good enough for punters who sent him off an odds-on favourite.
Never too far out of his ground Indian Maharaja took over early in the straight and in spite of running all over the place had six and a half lengths to spare over Urban Moon at the finish.
At this point the fun was only just beginning as the rider Joseph O’Brien had difficulty pulling up the winner - instead of negotiating the bend past the sands he went straight ahead dumping the jockey and running loose.
While no damage was done - the horse was soon caught and reunited with O’Brien - the manner of victory certainly left a lasting impression. Bookmaker reaction to the result was swift, with some fancy prices being offered for next season’s 2000 Guineas, but there are many bridges to be crossed before reaching Newmarket in May.
This was the second leg of a double for the master of Ballydoyle, who opened his account when One True Love finally got off the mark in the seven furlong maiden. Fitted with cheekpieces and a hood, the Duke Of Marmalade filly threw down her challenge a furlong or so out and, in spite of hanging left, got the better of the favourite Harpist by a neck.
Although not looking the most straightforward the winner was entitled to her day in the sun. She is well related and this victory will make all the difference to her CV when she retires to the paddocks.
Jim Bolger continued his red hot streak when Neophilia captured the extended mile and a furlong 47-62 handicap in the hands of Kevin Manning. The daughter of Teofilo gained a vital winning bracket when justifying good support in the betting market.
Racing off the pace Neophilia took closer order heading towards the straight. Manning took her into the lead entering the final furlong with the combination drawing clear to beat Island In The Sun by four lengths. This was a good performance by a tough filly who looks capable of adding to this victory before long.
Former Jockey Johnny Levins gained the second victory of his training career when Jumbo Steps ran out a game winner of the seven furlong 47-79 handicap under a cracking ride from Gary Carroll. The Footstepsinthesand gelding, who had also given Levins his initial success, had plenty of admirers in the betting market. He was very free in the early stages but Carroll anchored him well before pouncing almost in the shadow of the post to land the spoils by half a lengths from Mordanmijobsworth.
In his post-race remarks Levins revealed the ground was a big concern before racing but gave full credit to the management and staff for producing almost perfect going. Galway is now on the radar, but only there is some rain in the meanwhile.
Charles O’Brien and his mother Jacqueline joined forces to take the mile and a furlong 71-99 handicap as Edith Cowan gained her second victory of the season. Easy enough to back, the Galileo mare dropped out early on but came with a sustained run in the straight to lead close home and hit the wire a head to the good from Brog Deas.
Describing the winner as an honest old thing O’Brien revealed that his charge is entered in the Newmarket July Sales this week but, after this success, he will have to consider his options as he might be able to gain some blacktype with her.
Ken Condon was on hand to greet Roja Dov after the Jeremy mare scored a narrow victory in the mile apprentice handicap. The Kildare-based handler was concerned about the draw but his charge was quickly away. As game as they come, she will be up against it now as she will receive a hike in the weights.
Magical Steps was all the rage for the concluding mile and a furlong maiden, which was confined to three and four year olds, but she found one too good for her in the shape of Always Annie.
Having shown promise on her debut at Limerick, Always Annie stepped up a gear and was full value for her success. Winning trainer James Barrett will wait and see how the handicapper views the result before making definite plans for the daughter of Mount Nelson.