Thursday 22 March 2018

Curragh ups and downs

Good weekend for...

David Nagle and Graham Lee.

Both enjoyed a red-letter day at Newcastle on Saturday when Maarek provided them with their first triumph at Group level in the Chipchase Stakes. Backed from 5/1 into 11/4 joint-favouritism, Maarek ploughed through the heavy going to score easily by two lengths for his Fethard-based trainer.

Five-pound claimer Mickey Cleere. Back from a stint in Australia and New Zealand, Cleere teamed up with Killenaule's Andrew Slattery to ride his first winner in two years on An Saighdiur in the Paddy Power Sprint at the Curragh on Saturday.

John Oxx and Johnny Murtagh. Sinaniya won the two-year-old maiden for them on Friday night, Sharestan emerged as a candidate for the Arlington Million after justifying odds-on favouritism on Saturday, and Hartani put himself in line for a tilt at one of the St Legers with a game win in the Group Three Curragh Cup yesterday. Born To Sea ran a blinder in the Derby, and Murtagh (below) also took Saturday's Group Three sprint on Roger Charlton's Definightly.

Bad weekend for ...

The Curragh's best efforts.

Manager Paul Hensey and commercial director Evan Arkwright continue to try new ideas to revitalise the three-day fixture but, with the exception of Camelot, not a single other previous Group One winner contested either of the weekend's two top-level events. Neither was the weather that favourable.

French Fifteen.

Second to Camelot in the 2,000 Guineas, the French colt failed to raise a gallop for a second time in succession in yesterday's Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. Alan McCabe's Caspar Netscher finished just in front of him in sixth, with John Gosden's Gregorian second to Andre Fabre's Godolphin-owned Aesop's Fables.

The conventional Flat contingent at Newcastle on Saturday.

Former jump jockeys won both the feature races, with Jim Crowley's Northumberland Plate coup on Ile De Re complementing Graham Lee's Group Three victory. The big handicap winner was also trained by Don McCain, another jumping man.

Irish Independent

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