'Treasure' success augurs well for Weld
Galway kings Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen signed off with a winner before the big meeting, as Treasure The Cross recorded an all-the-way success in the Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Maiden at Wexford yesterday.
Smullen never looked in any real danger on the three-year-old -- second on her two previous runs -- as they came home three lengths clear of 13/8 favourite Saajidah.
"She's a very well-bred filly so it was important to win a maiden," said Smullen. "She was the best horse and I was hopeful she'd win after she worked well in blinkers in the week. We've a lot of horses for next week and hopefully we'll have some winners."
Winning owner-breeder Sean Coughlan, of Ridgewood Pearl fame, was on hand to greet his winner.
John 'Shark' Hanlon already has a leading Galway player in Luska Lad and will head to Ballybrit with hopes of another victory for One For Joules after her win in the Blackstairs Claiming Race. "She'll probably go to Galway now on the Thursday," said Hanlon of the 8/1 chance, who is owned by his partner Rachel O'Neill.
Favourite Headford Lady was another to attempt to make all in the Belmont Handicap and she had most of her rivals cooked at the two pole, but the exception was 10/1 shot Cloud Fire.
Always handy in the extended mile contest, Kevin Prendergast's four-year-old was giving 5lbs and a beating to the 11/4 favourite under Declan McDonogh. The attention switched to the jumps for the Crown Bar Beginners Chase and it was won by the Niall Madden-trained 9/2 shot Salesin, but not before a big scare for supporters.
The gelding was reluctant to start and went off some eight lengths behind the rest of the field, but won comfortably by seven lengths.