Evergreen Duff rolls back the years to answer Ireland's call
VETERAN Duff rolled back the years when landing the Ireland's Call Race in game fashion under Declan McDonogh at Dundalk last night.
Victorious for the ninth time in his life and for the third time on all-weather following success at Lingfield and Kempton, the evergreen eight-year-old (7/1) was waiting with his challenge from over a furlong out.
Once he got a gap inside the last he went on to beat another old warrior, Six Of Hearts (8/1), by half a length. David Marnane's well-backed favourite Dandy Boy was keen but finished 10th.
Delighted Duff trainer Eddie Lynam said: "It is great to see him win again. He hadn't won in two years, as age has caught up on him, like the rest of us.
"He is still able to shake a leg a bit and that was a fair race there. He loved the trouble in running and he knew where the winning post was."
Bible Black came from well off the pace to take the Star Appeal Stakes. Trained by Ger Lyons and ridden by Keagan Latham, the 12/1 shot was moored towards the back of the field but suddenly hit his stride two furlongs out to defeat Captain Obvious by three-quarters of a length. Lyons' brother Shane said: "We asked Keagan to hold him up to get the trip.
"He'd been running over five and six furlongs and there was a little doubt about him getting the seven but he is bred to get it.
"It was a masterful ride. Keagan rides this track very well. He won well and deserved to get the black type. We weren't overly shocked to see him win but I don't know what's there for him now."
Michael Grassick saddled his first winner since King Of Aran scored at the Louth venue in March when Elusive In Paris landed a tidy gamble in the nursery under Niall McCullagh. McCullagh sported the silks of Joe Keeling on the son of Elusive City.
Backed from 25/1 yesterday morning into 6/1 (original favourite Antiquus was a non-runner), Elusive In Paris found plenty when required to hold the challenges of Catfromtherock and Mr Red Clubs.
"The owner fancied him. He was to run here the last day but got balloted out. I didn't know if he'd handle the surface but the ground was too soft for him at The Curragh the last day," Grassick said.
Meanwhile, Henry de Bromhead reports stable star Sizing Europe in fine fettle following his fortuitous victory at Gowran Park last weekend.
"There's not a bother on him, he seems great," said De Bromhead. "I think he just lost his footing going into the first and it frightened the life out of him. I don't know where he'll go next for sure. We'll see."