Thursday 27 October 2016

Smullen shines on Covert Love in l'Opera

Pat Smullen wins The Hardwicke Stakes on board Snow Sky at Royal Ascot last month
Pat Smullen wins The Hardwicke Stakes on board Snow Sky at Royal Ascot last month

HUGO PALMER has really benefited from the often too freely availability of jockey Pat Smullen and in snapping up the Irish champion the pair combined to win an Irish Oaks and yesterday's Prix de l'Opera with Covert Love.

A remarkable journey for the three-year-old began this season when she won at Chelmsford in May and has progressed to win a Group One level twice now with real resilience shown yesterday when dropping back to 10-furlongs and having to fend off the challenging Jazzi Top.

The front running ride from Pat Smullen was perfectly judged and she'll now race on again next year for her extremely delighted and partly Irish based owners, the FOMO Syndicate.

Aidan O'Brien began the day with a winner as Ballydoyle continued her progression to lead home an Irish-trained 1-2 in the Prix Marcel Boussac.

O'Brien won the race last year with Found and looks to have another potential Classic contender on his hands in the shape of the carefully named daughter of Galileo.

"She's a beautiful mover and loves fast ground. You'd think she's a filly you'd really look forward to for next year," said O'Brien and a trip to the Breeders' Cup wasn't ruled out.

Meanwhile, at Tipperary's big mixed meeting, Dandy Nicholls didn't have Kieren Fallon aboard Sovereign Debt as the former champion jockey failed to turn up for his two rides but Declan McDonogh proved a worthy replacement.

Soverereign Debt was second in the Group Three Concorde Stakes but with just a shorthead in it, interference caused by initial winner Tested was deemed to be the difference and the stewards reversed the result.

Ruby Walsh enjoyed a double with Bachasson winning again in the novice hurdle and The Game Changer taking the novice chase for Gordon Elliott. Plinth took the Istabraq Hurdle for Aidan O'Brien and Mark Walsh.


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