Wallop shows Classic potential
Well-backed Noll Wallop maintained a brilliant start to the new Flat campaign for Tommy Stack's Tipperary stable when a convincing winner of yesterday's 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown.
Taken wide off the final turn by Wayne Lordan, the son of High Chaparral which was having only his third career start, soon picked up and they had the opposition stone cold well over a furlong out.
Seemingly suited by the soft, rather sticky ground, Lordan's mount belied pre-race fears on the part of his connections that the rain-softened going and mile trip would not play to his strengths.
Now there's every chance of Roger O'Byrne's progressive colt taking in the Irish 2,000 Guineas back at The Curragh where he opened his account last October en route to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
"The Irish Derby is definitely his target now and it's a matter of maybe running in the Guineas or one of the trials such as the Dante Stakes or the Gallinule Stakes before that," remarked Stack's son Fozzy.
"The one place he won't be going is Epsom because he needs a galloping track. We were a little worried beforehand whether he would act on this ground so we could take in the Guineas," added the assistant trainer.
The conditions were no help to drifting favourite Free Judgement which could not quicken in the straight where runner-up Viscount Nelson, however, was noted putting in good late work on the inner.
Just to emphasise the rude health of the Stack horses, they also collected in the following Foxrock Maiden as debutant Mister Carter sprang a 12/1 surprise in an event dominated betting-wise by Behtarini.
The latter was entered at the second stage for the Epsom Derby earlier this year by John Oxx after a couple of fine efforts last term but could not raise his effort when it mattered most in the closing stages.
Indeed it was Behtarini's stablemate Rocky Elsom which appeared the likely victor until Mister Carter arrived with a sustained challenge on the outer to double up for the Stack-Wayne Lordan partnership.
The 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes earlier in the session likewise served up a most decisive scorer when English import Lady Springbank booked her passage to the fillies' Classic at headquarters.
Curragh trainer Paul Deegan and owner Mark Gittins, who combined to land the Irish Lincoln a week earlier with 33/1 chance Big Robert, were delighted to see their Choisir filly oblige as well at 8/1.
Successful at 25/1 in the Weld Park Stakes at headquarters on her debut for Deegan last September, English visitor Jim Crowley's mount demonstrated here that Group Three breakthrough was no fluke.
"She's a good filly, picks up well and the faster they go the better for her. She will take her chance in the Guineas and Jim believes she will stay the mile as he couldn't pull her up out there," Deegan commented.
A well-beaten fourth in this trial was Karasiyra whose stable companion Hazarafa was an easy winner of the opening fillies' maiden to get John Oxx and Fran Berry off the mark for the new season.
The concluding handicaps featured a hard-earned double for former champion jockey Declan McDonogh as Limerick breeder David Fitzgerald's versatile mare Take It Easee and Ken Condon's charge Little Arrows each put their match fitness to good use to come out on top in tight photo-finishes.