Lolly For Dolly leads opening day double for Stack
Tommy Stack served notice of his early-season potency with a double at The Curragh.
The Tipperary handler rattled off a four-timer at this meeting 12 months ago, and again enjoyed another rich harvest on the first day of the Irish Flat campaign. Lolly For Dolly spearheaded the Stack brace by scooping the Group Three Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes.
The four-year-old filly, sporting first-time blinkers, revelled in the testing conditions to handsomely repel Aidan O'Brien's Gemstone by two lengths.
Although she looked a shade keen early on, Wayne Lordan's partner picked up nicely inside the final furlong to win going away as the 5/2 joint favourite.
The pacemaking Banimpire stayed on for third. Fozzy Stack, assistant trainer and son of the victorious handler, said: "She did it well and travelled better in the blinkers. We'll go for the Gladness Stakes (at The Curragh on April 3) next."
Stack's Blue Dahlia (9/2) won on this card 12 months ago and struck again in the Newbridge & Ocala Twinning Handicap. Despite racing from 5lb out of the handicap, the four-year-old filly hacked up under 10lb claimer Shane Gray, and was value for a good deal more than her two-length winning margin. It was also a big day for 16-year-old Gray, who was securing his first winner.
Drombeg Dawn (25/1) later outgunned Jim Bolger's Toraidhe in an exciting www.thetote.com Irish Lincolnshire. Both horses were placed handily, but the Ben Curtis-ridden mare seized the day by a short head.
British raider Kyllachy Star, trained by Richard Fahey, ran a nice race in third, another neck away from the Andrew McNamara-trained winner.
Despite having lost out with Gemstone, O'Brien still made a brisk start to the campaign when Sing Softly claimed the Big Bad Bob Maiden. Seamie Heffernan always had his mount well placed on the stands side, and convincingly fended off the challenge of 5/2 favourite Rose Bonheur by two lengths.
Tough As Nails lost the opening race in the stewards' room when Whip Rule was announced the winner of the Tally Ho EBF Maiden. The former, trained by Michael Mulvany, endeavoured to make all for Gary Carroll, but was adjudged to have interfered with Bolger's Whip Rule.