Sport Horse Racing

Monday 19 March 2018

Bunting lights up Oaks for Dettori

Thomas Kelly

Frankie Dettori made amends for an embarrassing professional blunder at Epsom last month with an inspired riding performance on Blue Bunting to land yesterday's Darley Irish Oaks at The Curragh.

The Newmarket 1,000 Guineas winner came with a late surge to grab Jim Bolger's gallant Banimpire on the line and take the fillies' Classic for Godolphin and trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. Wonder Of Wonders, the 5/4 favourite, and Laughing Lashes were just behind Banimpire in third and fourth.

Blue Bunting was only fourth in the Epsom Oaks, in which Dettori picked up a lengthy bann for dropping his hands on the filly near the line, costing the Godolphin filly third place.

Yesterday, a trio of pacemakers -- Amazing Beauty, Hurricane Havoc and Rumh -- took the field along with a big gap back to Dancing Rain, which headed the chasing pack. Rumh, carrying the Godolphin second colours, took it up turning for home but the major fancies closed in as the race hotted up.

Several were in with a chance in the final two furlongs and it looked like Banimpire might just follow up her Ribblesdale Stakes success for trainer Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning.

However, the Royal Ascot winner had no answer to Blue Bunting's late thrust that saw her grab victory by a short head as Dettori made amends for losing third place at Epsom, where he was easy on his filly in the dying strides and picked up a lengthy suspension.

Dancing Rain never looked like adding to her Epsom Oaks success, eventually finishing fifth.

Dettori said: "If I had stayed where I was I would have only finished fifth. I was going nowhere, so I switched her out for some daylight and I knew she would finish hard. I thought I would run out of time. But she picked up for me, just like she did in the Guineas."

Al Zarooni added: "I wasn't that confident before the race as I thought every horse had a chance. We have no certain plans for her now but she may go for the Yorkshire Oaks next."

There was a better outcome for the home team in the Group Three Kilboy Estates Stakes, which saw enterprising tactics from Niall McCullagh as he made all aboard Manieree (7/1).

McCullagh dictated affairs from the outset and the John Oxx-trained filly kept pulling out more in the final two furlongs to score by a length and three-quarters from her stablemate Kirinda.

"Manieree is an interesting filly and wants softer ground and further. She burnt them all off early in the straight. Kirinda was held up and might have been closer," said Oxx.

"She has plenty of options now and could go for the Give Thanks Stakes (at Cork) or a race at Gowran in August."

The David Wachman-trained Fire Lily was too hot for the opposition in the Anglesey Stakes.

Fourth in the Queen Mary Stakes on her previous start, the 11/4 favourite came with a telling run on the outside under Wayne Lordan to win by two and a half lengths and earn a quote of 33/1 for the English 1,000 Guineas.

Aidan O'Brien's horses After, Boris Grigoriev and Ishvana were second, third and fourth respectively.

O'Brien struck with Apollo, however, which made a winning debut in the Darley EBF Maiden. The heavily-supported 11/10 favourite, ridden by Ryan Moore, scored in promising style by three lengths from Newbury Hall and is rated 33/1 for next year's 2,000 Guineas.

There was more joy for the raiders when Somerset trainer Malcolm Saunders enjoyed success with Captain Carey, which took the Brady's Mercedes Benz Rockingham Handicap by a head in the hands of Fran Berry.

Pat Smullen landed a 34/1 double courtesy of victories aboard Late Day Sun for his boss Dermot Weld and the Harry Rogers-trained Allegra Tak, while Polish native Martha Pisarek brought Paramount with a well-timed challenge to land the Thalgo Ladies Derby Handicap for Ted Walsh.

At Tipperary, meanwhile, former Cheltenham winner Captain Cee Bee warmed up for the Galway Festival with a narrow success in the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle.

The highly talented two-mile chaser just held Edward O'Grady's The Real Article in a driving finish in the hands of Tony McCoy for owner JP McManus.

Powerstation made the running but was a spent force four out where Muirhead went on but in a race of fluctuating fortunes, it was Captain Cee Bee which just prevailed.

The 2/1 favourite just held The Real Article by a short head with De Valira seven lengths away in third.

Winning trainer Eddie Harty said: "Captain Cee Bee is a very, very good horse and this will leave him spot on for Galway."

Irish Independent

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