Blinkers work the oracle on Secretary Of State
Secretary Of State earned his reward for consistency when he defied top-weight to land the featured EBF Premier Nursery at Listowel yesterday.
Beaten favourite in five of his six previous outings, including all four times when he was second, the Aidan O'Brien 4/1 chance, wearing first-time blinkers, was never far off the pace in the hands of Joseph O'Brien. He took over approaching the final bend and stayed on stoutly in the testing conditions to hold French Quebec by a length.
"He did it well and picked up nicely," the winning jockey said. "The first-time blinkers helped. He was genuine and stayed all the way to the line."
Dermot Weld's youngster Swerve showed the benefit of her debut fourth at The Curragh a fortnight ago as she ran away with the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.
Pat Smullen grabbed the rails' berth and, after being on the pace all the way, the 15/8 favourite quickened clear through the final furlong to win by eight and a half lengths.
Slieveardagh has done all his winning at distances less than the two and a half miles of the John F McGuire Novice Chase, but he looked at ease under Barry Geraghty.
Edward O'Grady's charge (9/4 favourite) went to the front approaching the second-last and kept on to hold Action Master by three lengths.
"Barry said if the ground was any slower he would have been in trouble but he got away with it," O'Grady said.
Shadow Eile (10/11 favourite) confirmed the notion she is a promising jumping recruit as she sauntered away with the ITBA Fillies Scheme Novice Hurdle under Shay Barry. Dot Love's charge went on in mid-race to post an untroubled six-and-a-half-length triumph.
The well-backed Beir Bua (16/1 in to 10/1) found plenty when asked for an effort by Andrew Leigh in the Ladbrokes Ireland Handicap Hurdle, winning by three lengths for Jessica Harrington, while Missunited obliged at 12/1 in the closing bumper for her trainer Michael Winters, with Niall Kelly aboard.