Weld nets Galway four-timer
Dermot Weld enjoyed another meeting to remember at Galway, where he saddled four winners and the first two home in the feature race, the Listed Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes.
All eyes were on Almela as she stepped up in class following her wide-margin debut success at the Summer Festival here last month but she lost out to stablemate Zhukova (7/1).
The pair were to serve up a pulsating finish for punters as they traded blows throughout the final couple of furlongs. Zhukova is the more experienced of the two and just did enough to get the verdict by a head.
Weld said: "They are two very nice fillies and they battled it out very well. The winner ran a super race in Cork when she was a close fourth to her stable companion Zannda in a Group race and I didn't think there would be much between them today. The second filly is still very immature and she will also make into a lovely filly as the year progresses. Experience won - it's as simple as that."
Weld was victorious in the opening race, the Donnelly's Of Barna EBF Maiden, as Ebediyin made a favourable impression in defeating the well-touted Cole Porter by a head.
The latter looked set to come out on top when tackling Al Mohalhal in the home straight but the 6/1 winner was always travelling well in behind and picked up in fine style, reeling in his rivals with a surging late run that suggested he can make his mark at a much higher level.
Weld said: "He's a lovely colt in the making but he was very idle and lazy at home. He's a beautifully bred horse with great stamina. If I run him again this year it will probably be in the Eyrefield on the last day of the season at Leopardstown, over a mile and a furlong - he stays real well.
"He's a horse to look forward to for next year and he'll be a mile-and-a-half horse. His half-brothers and sisters have been pretty illustrious so hopefully he will live up to the page.
"It wasn't a surprise to me that he won. He had the race won from a long way out. He was always travelling well."
Not to be outdone, Simannka (9/4 fav) got the better of a protracted dual with Rayisa to open her account in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Fillies Maiden and Weld has high hopes for this filly, too.
Weld added: "I think she is a better filly than you saw here the last day, she ran second and I knew there was more there. I'd say that is it for her this year. She will come back next year for a Guineas trial and she appreciated the ease in the ground."
Alveena (5/2) overcame trouble in running to land the concluding Sean Clearly Memorial Maiden, handing Weld a fourth winner of the evening.
Just five go to post for today's Grade Three Ballybrit Novice Chase, but the Galway feature has attracted a line-up befitting its feature-race status.
Second here at the Festival in July, Rock The World is the one to aim at on these terms, assessed as he is as a 140-performer, and in receipt of 7lbs from the top-rated The Game Changer (144).