Monday 23 April 2018

Classy 'Cross' spearheads O'Brien treble

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Speedy Ballydoyle juvenile Intelligence Cross could be bound for the Middle Park Stakes after his convincing victory in the Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh.

Aidan O'Brien's youngster made up for being a late absentee from the Gimcrack Stakes at York recently with a display that bodes well for the future. That is set to start with a crack at the Newmarket Group One over six furlongs on September 24.

Though he had found Mehmas too good in his latest two starts, the classy colt looked on the upgrade as he tore the opposition apart.

Well-placed on the near-side rail as Velveteen made the running, the 11/8 favourite responded in a flash when Seamie Heffernan asked him for his effort. He soon put the race to bed, scoring by just over four lengths from Holy Cat.

"He went to York, but didn't run because of the ground. He missed a few bits of work because of going over there and I was a little bit worried about that today," said O'Brien, who revealed stablemate Caravaggio was a doubt for the Newmarket race after pulling a muscle recently.

"We'll look at the Middle Park now with him."

Intelligence Cross was completing a 41/1 treble for O'Brien following the wins of Yucatan and Somehow.

The latter pulled well clear in the final furlong to comfortably land the spoils in the Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes. Heffernan brought the 5/2 chance with a sweeping run to win by seven lengths from Mick Channon's Epsom Icon. Godolphin's Skiffle was third.

"She is an improving filly, and Fastnet Rock's seem to get better as they get older," O'Brien said. "Seamie said not to be afraid of going back with her for the Matron Stakes. She's getting quicker."

However, Heffernan was banned for one day for careless riding.

O'Brien enjoyed a one-two with the impeccably-bred Yucatan (4/1), ridden by his son Donnacha, beating Taj Mahal in the one opening one-mile juvenile maiden.

The John Oxx-trained Sea Of Grace (7/2) showed an admirable attitude as she rallied to regain the lead close home to take the Group Three Flame Of Tara EBF Stakes by a neck from Eziyra.

Oxx may bring her back to the Curragh for the Moyglare Stud Stakes in a fortnight's time.

"If there is an ease in the ground, we may let her take her chance in the Moyglare. It's only two weeks away but we'll see how she is," he said.

The Ger Lyons-trained Sea Wolf (9/1) bounced back after being under the weather when well-beaten at the Galway Festival to land the Tote Irish Cambridgeshire.

Leading a furlong out under Chris Keane, Sea Wolf kept up the gallop to run out a half-length winner from Sikandarabad. Aared was a length and a half back in third with Hasanpour another half a length away in fourth.

At Cork, meanwhile, Ruby Walsh had an armchair ride on his return from a crashing fall on Thursday with a facile victory on Bamako Moriviere (1/12) in the two-mile conditions hurdle.

It was his only mount on the card as he got back into action following a heavy spill at Bellewstown that left him stiff and sore.

In command from the start, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old was never put under severe pressure and won with plenty to spare by five and a half lengths from My Painter.

Irish Independent

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