Empowering kicks off Naas brace for O'Briens
AIDAN and Joseph O'Brien struck with 12/1 chance Empowering in the featured Memosa Stakes at Naas yesterday evening.
Second in the same race 12 months ago, the Encosta De Lago filly went one better with a half-length triumph over the front-running Caprella.
O'Brien's apparently better-fancied runner, After, was sent off a 5/2 chance under Seamie Heffernan but had to settle for third despite producing a late rattle.
The winning jockey said: "She is tough and tries hard -- her heart is the biggest part of her. I was always confident I would catch Johnny (Murtagh, on Caprella), but I wasn't sure about the horse coming behind me (After)."
The Ballydoyle father and son partnership completed a double when odds-on Learn (2/5 favourite) won the next race.
The younger O'Brien reported: "Learn stood in the stalls for some reason but he is genuine and relaxed better today than at Killarney, when he was a bit keen. He seems to be getting the hang of racing."
The double leaves O'Brien Jnr, who is suspended for nine days from August 4 to 12, four winners clear (45-41) of Pat Smullen at the head of the Jockeys' Championship.
Edward Lynam was another trainer to claim a double, which included a one-two with Vale Of Clara (14/1) and Regal Power in the Brady Family Real Ham Supporting Naas Hurling Maiden.
Fran Berry took the ride on Vale Of Clara, while Shane Foley struck for the in-form trainer on Lady Gosford (9/4 favourite) in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.
"I was worried about the ground for Lady Gosford and, like all trainers, I'm sick of it (the weather)," Lynam said. "However we just put our head down and ran her and it's good to get the win.
"She has a very good pedigree and her dam is a half-sister to Kalanasi. Shane said she handled the ground well. She is owned by Trevor Dalzell, who had French Emperor with me last year -- it's nice to get a win for him.
"I didn't think Vale Of Clara would go on the ground and when it changed, I told the owner to take her out -- I wish we had now!
"I told the owner to back the second (Regal Power) but like all of ours, they are doing their best and it was a pleasant surprise. She'll probably go the handicap route if I still have her after this!
"I don't have her that long and I trained the dam (Luggala), which was a good filly."