Monday 18 December 2017

Berry sweeps up with 150/1 treble

Fran Berry. Photo: Getty Images
Fran Berry. Photo: Getty Images

Damien McElroy

FRAN BERRY made the most of the enforced absences of Pat Smullen and Johnny Murtagh to record a 150/1 treble that feintly revived his jockey championship challenge as the Flat turf season wrapped up at a rain-soaked Leopardstown yesterday.

The Kildare rider (pictured) scooped two of the main prizes of the session when his trademark tactic of coming wide in search of a less-testing surface paid handsome dividends for connections of John Oxx's What A Charm and James Nash's stable star Luisant.

Revelling in the easy conditions, the Jones family's What A Charm, which led in the pack behind runaway victor Bright Horizon in the Irish Cesarewitch, made no mistake this time as she turned for home up with the pace and steadily forged clear of 25/1 outsider Prince Chaparral.

Signing off for the campaign, Berry's mount, which emulated Oxx's Ascot Gold Cup hero Enzeli by taking this stamina test as a mere three-year-old, is due to change stables shortly and join Arthur Moore's yard to embark on a career as a hurdler.

"It's been a frustrating year with this filly," said Oxx. "She hasn't really had her ground until today. She stays forever and, while her owners are sending her jumping, she might come back to us next year if we have a wet summer."

Another Oxx inmate Manieree likewise coped very well with the changed ground conditions to take the opening juvenile fillies' maiden for owner-breeder Max Morris and set up Berry's hat-trick.

In between, the ultra-consistent Luisant, which was third to Libano in the Knockaire Stakes 12 months previously, comprehensively reversed placings this time and, indeed, had the prize in safe keeping before Libano's stablemate Stunning View got into full flight.

As the durable Pivotal gelding hadn't won over seven furlongs since his second season in France four years ago, Curragh-based Nash advised Berry to tackle this Listed event "as if it was over six furlongs and I'll take the blame if you don't get home."

While Luisant readily justified favouritism in this Tote promotion, the Listed Eyrefield Stakes, sponsored by the Royal College of Surgeons, produced a shock for those who helped make Aidan O'Brien's Obligation an odds-on chance to prevail.

Rather than confirming his Tipperary defeat of Tiz The Shot, the front-running Galileo colt was obliged to give best inside the final furlong as Kevin Prendergast's maiden winner here only last Monday responded generously to Declan McDonogh's urgings.

"He's a hardy horse," remarked Prendergast, whose newcomer Vastonea was a 20/1 victor in an earlier maiden. "As he'd have a long winter to get over it, we decided to run him back again when we realised the race was cutting up. He's versatile as regards ground as well."

Irish Independent

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