Mullins claims Cesarewitch double
Willie Mullins won the Irish Cesarewitch for the second year running when Laws Of Spin held on grimly under Chris Hayes.
Mullins' ability with horses on the Flat underlines his genius and he stepped this son of Lawman up markedly in trip to win at Leopardstown last time. Trying his longest distance yet, the 7/1 shot stayed conclusively to edge the staying-on Cradle Mountain.
It was a renewal in which quite a few travelled sweetly until late on. Several threatened, Law Of Spin finding more under an astute Hayes drive, advertising the fine form of the Mullins stable.
Since the loss of the Gigginstown horses, Mullins has saddled some high-profile jumps winners and he has a promising stayer in Law Of Spin. Hayes said: "Willie filled me with confidence. I got the vibes this was the plan all year and I am just delighted he came to me."
Mullins, tellingly, is not all that keen on jumping for Laws Of Spin, at least in the immediate future. He is also not rubbishing the notion that he may one day turn into a horse for the Melbourne Cup, in which the stable had unfortunate runner-up Max Dynamite last year.
"He worked really well during the week but I felt he'd probably be out of the handicap. He's improving and, weather permitting, we'll consider the November Handicap.
"It was a fair performance two runs after winning a Ballinrobe maiden. Likely we'll keep him to the Flat and who knows? If he keeps progressing he might be a horse for Melbourne next year or down the road."
The most remarkable incident of the day was in the feature Staffordstown Stud Stakes. Calare, the apparent Godolphin second string, found renewed speed to challenge Queen Anne's Lace and Bound in the final furlong.
After a slight bump from Queen Anne's Lace, like a recalcitrant greyhound Calare went to take a bite out of her rival. When consenting to run on, she squeezed up that foe but readily got the measure of both her and Bound under James Doyle.
Doyle said of the Charlie Appelby-trained filly: "She's a bit of a character. It's usually not a bad sign (to bite) and shows she has a bit of fire in her belly.
"It got a bit tricky. We needed a little bit of luck which we didn't get the gap but when she got out she showed a nice turn of foot and quickened up well."
Charlie Hills also raided successfully, Shanghai Glory beating Master Speaker by a length in the Waterford Testimonial Stakes. It was, said rider William Buick, "a cosy win in the end".
Dermot Weld took the closing Brown Panther Stakes with Alveena, favourite Stellar Mass running no sort of race. Weld paid tribute to Pat Smullen's ride and added that it was the stable's 81st winner of the season.
Reflecting on Harzand's laboured Arc performance, Weld said: "It's been a long, hard year since he ran in a Derby trial at Leopardstown. He's so bloody tough, he was struck into at Leopardstown in the Champion Stakes and maybe it took more out of him than you'd think.
"I'm not sure but we'll see about his future. If he stays in training he'd be a horse for the major mile-and-a-half races next year."
Jim Bolger looks to have a nice prospect in the New Approach-bred Holistic Approach, which overcame inexperience to make a winning debut in the opener. Kevin Manning refused to panic on the Godolphin-owned 4/1 chance, which rattled home to provide a 1-2 for the owners.
"He will be a smart horse, especially when he steps up a bit," said Bolger. "There won't be an awful lot for him now except maybe the Killavullan Stakes."
The glorious October weather was such that many patrons happily licked ice cream cones between races. For Mullins, it was just another day. Put to him that it was his second successive win in the big race, he said: "Oh yes, that's right come to think of it."