WHILE Jim Bolger recorded yet another brace at Gowran Park it was the display of We’ll Go Walking that had tongues wagging on Sunday.
Unraced as a juvenile, the daughter of Authorised made a winning debut over the course and distance earlier in the month when considered as part of the trainer’s second string. She has clearly gone the right way since and stepped up to Listed level and this Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes contest with the minimum of fuss.
Setting off in front over this extended mile and a furlong trip We’ll Go Walking still held the call from the warm favourite Caponata heading towards the final furlong. The latter duly took over soon afterwards however, We’ll Go Walking stuck gamely to her task and made the favourite work hard before landing the spoils by half a length with the well-regarded Aloof a further eight lengths back in third place.
This was a display full of promise by We’ll Go Walking, which is out of a half sister to Teofilo so stamina will not be a problem for her. By virtue of her Group Two placing last season the winner set a decent standard. According to her trainer Dermot Weld she might well make into a Group One filly before the season is out.
The result puts the Bolger runner in a very good light, so it will be interesting to see how she progresses from here. It will come as no surprise if she develops into an Oaks contender by the middle of Summer.
A daughter of Teofilo the three-year-old Tobann set the Bolger juggernaut in motion with an impressive victory in the opening maiden over seven furlongs. Easy to back, Tobann came from near mid division to lead a furlong out before going on to beat Solver Lightening by seven lengths with the Pat Shanahan representative Scotland Forever just a neck away in third place.
Fears that the soft ground was against Tobann proved wide of the mark. According to Bolger she is on the upgrade and could be a contender for the Athasi Stakes at the Curragh.
There was plenty of chat before racing about Scotland Forever, who failed to trouble the judge as a juvenile or in the first race of the season at the venue when it was reported that his saddle had slipped. The Danesfort contingent were beginning to roar him on when he hit the front turning for home but he failed to quicken from there. On this evidence a maiden looks well within his compass and he is in the right hands to achieve this.
Bolger was back in the winners enclosure later in the afternoon when An Saincheann turned the mile and a furlong fillies maiden into a procession. Always close to the pace, the four-year-old daughter of Dylan Thomas kicked on shortly after leaving the back straight and drew right away to finish 13 lengths clear of the favourite Sharp Crisp Air. This was a very valuable winning bracket for the well-connected An Saincheann, who will make a lovely broodmare when she retires to the breeding paddocks.
After a slow start by his standards Dermot Weld is beginning to strike form. He was another trainer to record a double through Lucky Kitten and the aforementioned Caponata. The American-bred Lucky Kitten set the wheels in motion when he caused a 14/1 surprise in the mile 57-70 handicap under Pat Smullen.
Having failed to make the frame in three previous outings Lucky Kitten was sporting first-time blinkers. They had the desired effect, as he came from off the pace to lead well inside the last furlong before going on to record an extended three length success over Lake Louise.
Shane Foley showed just why he is such a highly-regarded young jockey by bringing Ondeafears from last to first to capture the seven furlong 71-92 handicap for fillies.
Last of 10
Starting favourite, the Michael Halford-trained six-year-old looked a forlorn hope with a couple of furlongs to race as she was dead last of the ten-strong field. Foley never panicked, however, and weaved his way through the field to lead in the shadow of the post and take the money by half a length from Core Element.
Post-race Halford described the mare as being tough, but needs time to settle. The gap opened up at the right time to earn a fourth career win.