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Flag flies highest for O'Brien camp

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Flying The Flag ridden by Seamie Heffernan wins the eFlow 'You First' International Stakes during the eFlow rewardcard Derby Festival Friday at Curragh Racecourse in Co. Kildare, Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 28, 2013. See PA story RACING Curragh. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Flying The Flag ridden by Seamie Heffernan wins the eFlow 'You First' International Stakes during the eFlow rewardcard Derby Festival Friday at Curragh Racecourse in Co. Kildare, Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 28, 2013. See PA story RACING Curragh. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Flying The Flag ridden by Seamie Heffernan wins the eFlow 'You First' International Stakes during the eFlow rewardcard Derby Festival Friday at Curragh Racecourse in Co. Kildare, Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 28, 2013. See PA story RACING Curragh. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Avenue Gabriel got the better of Ballybacka Queen as two newcomers battled out the finish to the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies' Maiden at the Curragh last night.

Ridden by Chris Hayes, Avenue Gabriel (14-1) got on top close home to score by a neck from 50-1 outsider Ballybacka Queen and gave owner Lady O'Reilly her first winner with trainer Paul Deegan.

Snow, sent off the 4-6 favourite, never looked like obliging for the Aidan O'Brien team, finishing only fifth.

Deegan said: "We think she is a nice filly and there is plenty more to come from her. She was ready to go and do herself justice and she'll probably go for the Silver Flash Stakes now.

"Lady O'Reilly bought her off of us earlier this year."

Dr Funkenstein (6-4 favourite) justified strong support to open his account in the 100 to 102 Today FM Maiden.

 

DEBUT

The Ger Lyons-trained gelding stepped up on a debut third to defeat One True Love by a length and three-quarters.

Lyons said: "He'll be a real horse in six months' time. He is a lovely big horse and he needs every yard of that trip."

First-time cheekpieces did the trick as Yulong Baoju (7-2) took the Irish National Stud Gathering Handicap.

Eddie Lynam's filly had disappointed on both her starts this year, but dropped down to five furlongs suited. She hit the front inside the final furlong and held Speed Dream by a length.

Lynam said: "Timing is everything and her owners are over from China to see her run and even better they had a few quid on.

"It was a good time, 57.85 seconds, and she'll probably go for the Rockingham (at the Curragh next month) now."

Marc Monaghan followed up his Group Three triumph on Midnight Soprano earlier this month by steering home Mourani (4-1) in the eFlow Rewardcard Apprentice Derby.

Leading over two furlongs out, the John Oxx-trained colt pulled away to score by a length and three-quarters from King Of the Romans.

Oxx said: "He's a stayer. They went a nice pace, which suited him and they probably let him go a bit, but he stays well and he doesn't stop in front.

"He goes well on the ground and he'll stay further."

Most Improved was a big disappointment on his belated debut for the O'Brien stable as he trailed in third of four behind his stablemate Flying The Flag in the eFlow 'You First' International Stakes.

The 5-4 favourite never threatened and failed to pick up when asked for an effort by Joseph O'Brien.

It was left to Flying The Flag (2-1) under Seamie Heffernan to save the day as the three-year-old wore down the pace-setting Aloof in the final furlong to get on top close home and win by four lengths.

O'Brien said of the winner: "I'm delighted with him. He's a mile and a quarter horse and fast ground is important to him. There was plenty of pace on and that suited him."

Trainer O'Brien was pleased with Most Improved's first run for 251 days.

"He has been off a long time and he just got tired as he was entitled to do," he said.

"I was very happy with the run, especially how he travelled during the race.

"Joseph (O'Brien, son and jockey) said he won't mind going back in trip."


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