Kerisa digs deep to win by a head in Sligo thriller
KERISA just hung on in a thrilling finish to the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Connacht Oaks Fillies Handicap at Sligo.
A maiden winner over a mile and a quarter at Leopardstown and not beaten far in two previous handicap attempts, the John Oxx-trained winner dug deep after joining issue with Strandfield Lady over a furlong out.
Declan McDonogh managed to get first run on Shane Foley and Drifting Mist, who had to challenge wide from behind horses.
Foley's mount closed all the way to the line but Kerisa (7/1) claimed the spoils by a diminishing head.
McDonogh said: "She handled the ground well as it's quite dead out there.
"She was idling a bit in front and was pulling up from 100 yards out. She deserved that as she has plenty of placed form."
Earlier, the Brendan Duke-trained Focussed followed up last week's Galway success with victory in the Ladies Day 8th August Nursery Handicap.
The Ronan Whelan-ridden youngster was sent off the 3/1 joint-favourite to follow up on his handicap debut win at Ballybrit and kept on strongly after hitting the front before the straight.
Toronado to star at Ascot
Toronado and Dawn Approach are two of the headline names in a star-studded entry for Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on October 19.
The pair lit up Glorious Goodwood last week with Richard Hannon's Toronado getting the better of the Jim Bolger-trained Dawn Approach for the first time and they could face a rematch in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Toronado has also been entered in the Qipco Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs which has attracted Roger Charlton's Al Kazeem, last year's runner-up Cirrus Des Aigles as well as the winners of the Epsom, Irish and French Derby.
Andre Fabre's Intello was a brilliant winner of the French version, while Bolger's Trading Leather claimed the Irish equivalent, with Aidan O'Brien's Epsom hero Ruler Of The World well beaten that day. The likes of last year's Classic hero Camelot, Telescope, Farhh, Hillstar and Kingsbarns are also in the field.