Thursday 19 July 2018

Cougar Mountain scales 'Desmond' heights

Aidan O'Brien sent out Cougar Mountain into Group One company on just his second start in the July Cup
Aidan O'Brien sent out Cougar Mountain into Group One company on just his second start in the July Cup

Cougar Mountain benefited from a drop in class when winning the Invesco Pension Consultants Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown last night.

Aidan O'Brien has aimed high, over a variety of trips, with the Fastnet Rock four-year-old. He was pitched into Group One company on just his second start in the July Cup last year yet he ran in the Eclipse over 10 furlongs this July.

Back down to a mile, Joseph O'Brien moved him into the lead on entering the final furlong and he was not hard pressed to beat Mick Halford's filly Raydara by three-parts of a length.

"I'm delighted with him as he's lazy and only does the minimum," said O'Brien Snr of the evens favourite

"That will do his confidence good. He's well entered up, and will not mind travelling as he's hardened and seasoned. That's lovely summer ground, and it's rare that we get it."

The O'Briens teamed up earlier in the card to claim the juvenile maiden with 4/11 favourite Unicorn which led from the opening of the stalls to record a four-and-three-quarters length win.

Dermot Weld's Juliette Fair (2/1) created a favourable impression when capturing the opening juvenile fillies maiden under Pat Smullen.

"She has progressed well but would prefer an ease in the ground as most Dark Angel's do," said Weld. "Pat (Smullen) is confident that she has plenty of speed, and we'll probably stick to six furlongs."

Smullen went on to complete a short-priced double when steering Johnny Murtagh's 10/11 favourite Jolyne to victory in the finale, while the Eddie Linehan-trained Aurelia Cotta (6/1) struck for the second time in 24 hours when following up Wednesday's Gowran Park success in the hands of Denis Linehan.

Meanwhile, Give Her Bach recored a deserved success in the opening race at Tramore. Consistent throughout the summer, the Patrick Cronin-trained mare jumped three out in company with What A Jewel.

Pierce Gallagher's mount had a slight advantage at the second-last and, after pinging the final fence, she asserted from her fellow 15/8 joint-favourite to win by a ready six lengths.

Unfortunately, Mark Enright was in the wars and suffered a broken leg in a fall from Annadiamond in the Michael Guiry Auctioneers Maiden Hurdle for trainer Garrett Power when he was unseated at the fourth flight.

An official from the Irish Turf Club said: "Mark has fractured his right tibia while he also has lacerations to his face."

Irish Independent

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