Wednesday 22 January 2020

Century makes perfect start at the Curragh

Flying Jib ridden by Pat Smullen (left) races clear of third place Dazzling ridden by Joseph O'Brien (right) to win the Staffordstown Stud Stakes during Irish Cesarewitch Day at the Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare, Ireland
Flying Jib ridden by Pat Smullen (left) races clear of third place Dazzling ridden by Joseph O'Brien (right) to win the Staffordstown Stud Stakes during Irish Cesarewitch Day at the Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare, Ireland
Trainer Dermot Weld with jockey Pat Smullen after sending out Flying Jib to win the Staffordstown Stud Stakes during Irish Cesarewitch Day at the Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare
Flying Jib ridden by Pat Smullen (left) races clear of second place Chicago Girl ridden by Johnny Murtagh to win the Staffordstown Stud Stakes during Irish Cesarewitch Day at the Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare
Balmont Mast ridden by Johnny Murtagh (second from left) on the way to winning the Johnny O'Sullivan Lifetime In Racing Achievement Waterford Testimonial Stakes during Irish Cesarewitch Day at the Curragh Racecourse
Owner Derek Iceton in the parade ring after Balmont Mast ridden by Johnny Murtagh won the Lifetime In Racing Achievement Waterford Testimonial Stakes during Irish Cesarewitch Day at the Curragh Racecourse
Johnny Murtagh in the parade ring after riding Balmont Mast to win the O'Sullivan Lifetime In Racing Achievement Waterford Testimonial Stakes during Irish Cesarewitch Day at the Curragh Racecourse

Century made a winning racecourse debut in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden at the Curragh.

Primogeniture, one of three representatives for John Oxx, cut out the early running before stablemate Marakoush and Declan McDonogh took it up two furlongs out.

However, the well-backed 15-8 favourite was soon joined by fellow newcomer Century, with Joseph O'Brien's mount, who had raced towards the rear and looked to have a fair bit to do at one stage, soon getting the better of the argument from the furlong pole.

A length and a half was the winning margin for the Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Montjeu, who was sent off at 11-4.

The winning trainer said: "He was very slow coming out and I thought he couldn't win from there.

"He was very green, he had to come through horses and he will have learned a lot from that.

"He was just ready to start. We will see how he comes out of this and it is possible he could run again this year."

Flying Jib looked a smart filly in the making when landing the Listed Staffordstown Stud Stakes.

The lightly-raced youngster quickened readily away from good yardstick Chicago Girl, who was a close second to My Titania in a Group Three last month.

The latter led at the furlong pole but Pat Smullen's mount took her measure readily before going on to a length and a half victory.

Fourth first time out, the 5-1 winner was stepping up in class having won a Dundalk maiden on the Polytrack in August.

Weld said: "That was a very pleasing performance. She won easily on the Polytrack at Dundalk and I thought this would be a nice race for her provided the ground stayed good.

"She is a good actioned filly and she wants good ground. I think you'll find that the first three are all smart fillies.

"That might be it for this year, although I'll have to speak to Lord Grimthorpe (Khalid Abdullah's racing manager). I mentioned to him that we might consider the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf.

"She is very adaptable having won at Dundalk and here, and she loves top of the ground. She is a lovely filly to look forward to next spring and a mile is her trip."

Top notch sprinter Balmont Mast was ultimately impressive in taking the Johnny O'Sullivan Lifetime In Racing Achievement Waterford Testimonial Stakes.

Group One-placed when second in Dubai on World Cup night and fourth in a big Hong Kong event in May, the Eddie Lynam-trained five-year-old was having just his second start since that effort in the Far East but was being niggled by Johnny Murtagh over a furlong out.

British raider Angels Will Fall had travelled very strongly as the winner's stable companion Boston Rocker led on the rail but despite Charlie Hills' runner hitting the front and looking all set to score, Balmont Mast found another gear deep inside the last to win quite cosily by three-quarters of a length.

Lynam said: "He's one of four (Sole Power, Slade Power and Viztoria being the others) for the Champions Sprint at Ascot next weekend. We'll see what the ground is like before making plans.

"But it's really all about the Golden Shaheen for him next spring. He was 30 kilos overweight today.

"Boston Rocker just got done for third which takes the shine off it a bit."

Heirloom (7-2) was another for the O'Brien team when taking the Listed Join Go Racing In Kildare 2014 Finale Stakes.

Campaigned in handicaps recently, the Dansili colt was driven by Jospeh O'Brien a fair way from home and stayed on strongly to hold fellow Ballydoyle runner Sir Walter Scott, who ran a race full of promise on his first run since September last year.

Aidan O'Brien said: "He stays well and I was delighted with both of them.

"Heirloom has been progressing with every run. He wants nice ground and a fast-run mile and a half. He's a big horse who should continue to progress next year."

Star apprentice Robert Tart secured the biggest win of his fledgling career when guiding Brian Ellison's British raider Montefeltro to a thrilling success in the Tote Super Trifecta Irish Cesarewitch.

Tart, who claims 3lb, was spotted at work on the 8-1 chance with a quarter-mile to run, but his efforts paid a handsome dividend as the five-year-old picked up in style, making full use of the gap that appeared and staying on strongly to account for Marchese Marconi by a length and a half, winning with his ears pricked.

Call Me Bubbles was third, with Majenta fourth.

The win means Tart remains unbeaten on Ellison's gelding, with three wins from three rides.

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