Bookmakers on the Run after Levins lands Curragh gamble
The John Levins-trained Palavicini Run landed a gamble that was the main subject of chat on a run-of-the-mill day at the Curragh.
Available at double figures in the market overnight, the filly was backed into 5/4 favourite and justified the plunge with a smooth two-and-a-quarter-length success in the Jockeys Emergency Fund Handicap.
The victory was a further boost for rider Ronan Whelan, who it was revealed in Thursday's Irish Independent will be the eventual successor to Kevin Manning as stable rider for Jim Bolger.
Levins played down the notion that Palavicini Run's victory was something of a plot, even though he also owns the three-year-old. He said: "It wasn't a plan.
"The bookmakers overreacted with all the non-runners. I don't back horses myself.
"She was very keen and gassy at home, tending to be holding her breath, so I got her dropped back in trip to get her to settle. Ronan said she was still too keen all the way but slowly we are getting her to do things right."
The first race, a six-furlong maiden, saw the two best-backed steeds pull five lengths beyond the third. Khukri backed up two strong course runs by denying the 5/1 poke Spanish Tenor, for which trainer Tim Doyle has high hopes.
Triumphant trainer Jessica Harrington said: "I'd say he won in spite of the ground. The 15mm of rain certainly didn't help. I think he's a Stakes horse but whether he runs again this season would depend on the ground."
Eamonn O'Connell gets results from a small string and Papal Parade exhibited marked progression when winning the second division of the ten-furlong handicap by six lengths under Declan McDonogh.
O'Connell said: "She seems to be improving away and the cheekpieces keep her concentrating; she's a different filly since we put them on. She could go hurdling next year."