Thursday 18 January 2018

Ballycorus success earns trip to Newmarket for Alanza

Thomas Kelly

JOHN OXX'S highly-regarded Alanza earned a trip to Newmarket after finishing best in the pouring rain at Leopardstown last night to justify odds-on favouritism in the Ballycorus Stakes.

Sent off the 8/11 favourite under Johnny Murtagh, the daughter of Dubai Destination sat in fourth through the early stages of the seven-furlong heat, but it was clear she was travelling best turning into the straight.

Murtagh pushed her past long-time leader Marvada approaching the furlong pole and she dug deep to score by a neck, in the process paying a compliment to her Curragh conqueror Emulous, which is bound for Royal Ascot next week.

Oxx said: "She won nicely, as we hoped she would. She doesn't do a lot in front -- I thought she was going to win two lengths, but she was dossing in front.

"The ground has gone a bit for her, she wants good to firm -- she loves that. I think we'll give her another shot at a Group One, in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket. She's good at seven furlongs, but we'll give her one more shot at a mile."

Oxx and Murtagh had earlier struck with Harasiya, like Alanza owned by the Aga Khan and which looks to have a very bright future, judging by her effort in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden.

Oxx said: "That was a nice run and she's won nicely for her first time. It was a good effort, too, considering that she was slowly away. We liked her, but you're never sure how green they'll be first time. She might be one to aim at the Moyglare -- we'll run her in a month's time and then think about the Debutante in August."

Fire Lily (9/4 favourite) returned to winning ways in the Ballyogan Stakes.

After had to play second-fiddle as Wayne Lordan produced the winner between rivals inside the final furlong to score by three parts of a length.

Gossamer Seed filled the placings, but the disappointment was Lightening Pearl, which did not enjoy the rapidly worsening conditions and was ultimately sixth.

Irish Independent

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