Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 21 January 2017

Digeanta gives Mullins victory in Cesarewitch

Thomas Kelly

Published 12/10/2015 | 02:30

Champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins again showed his versatility by landing another major staying race on the Flat when Digeanta claimed in the Tote Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh
Champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins again showed his versatility by landing another major staying race on the Flat when Digeanta claimed in the Tote Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh

Champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins again showed his versatility by landing another major staying race on the Flat when Digeanta claimed in the Tote Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh.

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Western Boy appeared to have things sewn up for Pat Fahy in the colours of JP McManus as he shot clear with over a furlong to run, but the challengers behind were just hitting top gear.

Digeanta (16/1) quickened up and powered past Western Boy under Billy Lee, who was completing a double as he had already won on smart sprinter Fort Del Oro earlier.

George Baker's raider Guard Of Honour made rapid late headway, but the winner had flown, with three-quarters of a length separating them at the line. Sea Pride finished third for Mark Prescott, with Western Boy plugging on for fourth.

Lee's 67/1 brace was initiated by the impressive success of Fort Del Oro (3/1) in the Waterford Testimonial Stakes. Eddie Lynam's filly had shown decent form when third to Mattmu and second to Lucky Kristale at York, and took another step forward in this Listed race.

Lee was always cruising on the three-year-old, but Ryan Moore emerged from the pack on The Happy Prince and looked a real threat.

To Fort Del Oro's credit, she battled well to win by a length and a half, with stablemate Gathering Power in third.

"This has been a lucky race for me," said Lynam. "She did it well and has an entry next week in the big sprint at Ascot. If she is jumping out of her skin, we will probably let her take her chance."

Best In The World won the Listed Staffordstown Stud Stakes on just her second start. Runner-up on debut, she was sent off the 4/6 favourite and when Moore brought her alongside Rayisa entering the final furlong, the result looked inevitable.

However, she needed to be driven right out to the line as Dolce Strega stayed on well to get within half a length.

This sealed a double for the Ballydoyle team who landed the opener with Black Sea which comfortably opened his account at the second time of asking.

Without having to get in any way serious, Moore put the race to bed inside the final furlong and the 5/6 favourite beat the 100/1 outsider Red Rannagh by two lengths.

O'Brien and Moore looked sure to make it a treble when Truth hit the front entering the final furlong of the fillies' maiden over nine furlongs, but she finished only third behind the Ger Lyons-trained Synopsis (6/1) which beat Melanna by a length and a half under Colin Keane.

The O'Brien name was up in lights again following the Stephen Quirke Memorial Apprentice Handicap, but this time through teenage rider Donnacha, who partnered Johann Bach (9/2) to victory.

Irish Independent

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