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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Ainippe set for step-up in class

Ainippe (left) charges late to edge out Newsletter
Ainippe (left) charges late to edge out Newsletter

Ger Lyons and Colin Keane continued their fine run of form at the Curragh yesterday when taking the feature race on the card, the Group Three TRM Ballyogan Stakes, with the real likeable filly Ainippe.

After enduring a frustrating trip to Epsom with stable star Success Days on Saturday, it looked as though Ken Condon might come in for some small compensation when Newsletter was sent for home under Shane Foley, but it was Ainippe who stayed on strongest and went on in the shadows of the post to score in the Qatar Racing colours.

The manner of the victory would suggest seven furlongs won’t pose a problem to the three-year-old. While Royal Ascot has not been ruled out, options elsewhere may be preferred.

Lyons said: “I thought she was going to be an unlucky loser for a while because she got murdered everywhere but Colin kept his cool on her.

“She has plenty of natural speed and is a real honest filly and the plan at the start of the season was to win a Group Three so we may look for a Group Two now somewhere.”

Postulation had to dig deep to go and deny Group One winner Parish Hall in the listed TRI Equestrian Silver Stakes for trainer Dermot Weld and stable jockey Pat Smullen.

The two battled out the closing stages of the 10-furlong contest and the eventual winner even survived Parish Hall attempting to bite him close to the line. Weld suggested that a trip overseas could be on the agenda for the listed winner.

Weld also said that an update on the future of his one-time Epsom Derby hopeful Zawraq would be released later in the week by Angus Gold, racing manager to the owner Sheikh Hamdan, and that he hopes to have him back in action at some stage later in the season.

Jessica Harrington could have another nice prospect on her hands courtesy of yesterday’s opening race winner Rockaway Valley, who stepped forward from an encouraging debut to justify favouritism in the six-furlong maiden.

“He was good,” said Harrington. “He did everything you’d want and he came along nicely since his last run and went the right way.

“I hope it was a nice maiden and it’s brilliant because he was going away from them there. He has plenty of fancy entries and we’ll come back here for the Railways Stakes over six furlongs and he is also in the National Stakes but we won’t be going near Ascot.  Commenting on her two leading three-year-old fillies, she added: “Jack Naylor seems to have come back from Epsom very well. I think the plan at the moment, and those plans can always change, is to come back here for the Irish Oaks and try again.

“Bocca Baciata seems back in good form but I don’t know where she’ll go yet, we’ll just wait until she works later in the week and maybe decide then.”

Fort Del Oro could be a filly with a bright future and is held in high regard by her trainer Eddie Lynam, who was naturally very pleased with her progression to win the TRM Excellence In Equine Nutrition Maiden.

“She did it well after a good first run. We will see what handicap rating she gets and see where we go from there but I think she could be very nice.”

Meanwhile, Willie Mullins was out of luck with his strong team in Paris yesterday as Thousand Stars finished best of all when second in the French Champion Hurdle in which Hurricane Fly failed to land a blow.

David Pipe’s apparent second string Un Temps Pour Tout made every yard a winning one under James Reveley to run out a facile 10-length winner, while later on the card and just a week after winning the French Derby, jockey Vincent Cheminaud partnered Blue Dragon to win the Grade One four-year-old hurdle.

Golden Horn’s Epsom Derby success for trainer John Gosden, cost BoyleSports a six-figure sum. However, the bookmaker earned some respite as the three Aidan O’Brien horses that were all subject to each-way support failed to occupy the first three places.

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