TRAINER Jim Bolger landed a smart double when Light Heavy and Whipless grabbed the headlines at Leopardstown on Sunday.
Light Heavy was the first in the winner’s circle with a smart win in the Group Two Derrinstown Derby Trial Stakes. Having finished second in his only outing as a juvenile and unbeaten in two runs this term Light Heavy was well fancied by connections but still played second fiddle to the Aidan O’Brien colt Wrote in the betting market.
Not for the first time this term we saw what would be regarded as the pacemaker from Ballydoyle coming out best of the stable’s runners as Tower Rock took the field along at a decent gallop. Rider Kevin Manning sat in his slipstream aboard Light Heavy and the pair went right away from Wrote once the tempo was upped early in the straight.
With a furlong to race it was anybody’s race, but Light Heavy found most in the closing stages to land the spoils by a neck with seven and a half lengths back to the favourite in third place.
This was a thoroughly game performance by the winner on ground that was considered to be unsuitable - Bolger reckons his charge is a much better horse with a good racing surface. The Teofilo colt is not an Epsom Derby entrant and will be aimed instead at the Irish equivalent a month or so later.
When Tower Rock and Light Heavy clashed in the Group Three Ballysax Stakes at the venue the latter came out on top by four lengths, which might suggest that Tower Rock has made the most improvement. Wrote was most disappointing of the top three. Winner of the Juvenile Turf Classic at Churchill Downs he was in trouble off the home turn and never looked likely to be concerned at the business end.
Bolger went on to complete a double when Whipless captured the mile 74-91 handicap in the hands of talented claimer Ronan Whelan. Smartly away, the son of Whipper pulled hard and looked a sitting duck as the field closed up early in the straight but to his credit he responded well to the urgings of his rider to hold the challenge of Bold Thady Quill by a length and a quarter.
In his post-race remarks the trainer announced that the winner is for sale as a possible hurdling prospect. Given the fact that he has won over a mile and a quarter he should appeal to jumping trainers. He is out of a King’s Theatre mare and on that basis if a little obstacle happened to appear in front of him it would not inconvenience him greatly.
Another trainer in fine form was Dermot Weld who notched up a three-timer. He opened his account when Famous Name gained the 16th success of his career, racing to an effortless victory in the Group Three Amethyst Stakes over a mile.
An almost unbackable favourite, the Dansili horse raced just off the pace as Ask Jack carved out the lead. Ask Jack began to fly distress signals before the straight and once rider Pat Smullen pounced aboard Famous Name a couple of furlongs out the combination raced away to record a very impressive four and a half lengths success.
If ever a horse deserved to win a Group One contest it is Famous Name. Weld said that he will explore every avenue to try and achieve this ambition. The Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh is the next port of call, after which the position will be assessed.
Yellow Rosebud became the second leg of the treble for the master of Roswell House when she battled well to take the mile Group Three Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas trial. Stable jockey Pat Smullen was again in the plate as the Jeremy filly came with a tremendous rattle in the straight to lead inside the final furlong and hold the late challenge of the Aidan O’Brien runner Devotion by a length.
After the race Weld reminded people that he won this race a couple of years ago with Bethrah, which went on to land the Irish 1000 Guineas. The trainer suggested that history could repeat itself as Yellow Rosebud has improved well since last season; once she gets a little sun on her back she will be a match for the best.
Weld and Smullen completed their hat-trick when Show Court ran out a comfortable winner of the mile and four maiden for three-year-olds. After showing promise at the Curragh in his debut last month the Vinnie Roe gelding had a good following in the betting market. He came for his race at the two furlong marker and Smullen had only to push him out hands and heels to record a six length success over Allowed.
Well regarded by the trainer, Show Court will now have a break. Since Weld usually has a decent juvenile hurdler every year this fellow might well fit the bill later on.
Cougar Ridge took plenty of money out of the ring when leading a furlong down in the opening two-year-old maiden before doing the business nicely by a couple of lengths or so in spite of showing signs of greenness. A good looking son of Johannesburg, Cougar Ridge will now be stepped up in class and can add to the fine run of the David Wachman yard.