Fiesolana digs deep to claim Fairyhouse prize for McCreery
Willie McCreery's Fiesolana showed courage to match her growing reputation as she gamely held off Dermot Weld's Along Came Casey to capture the Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse.
The four-year-old had won her last two starts, including the Ballyogan Stakes at Leopardstown, but was penalised for that success in this Group Three contest.
Always to the fore under Billy Lee, the 5/1 shot had some highly touted rivals off the bridle two furlongs out, but Weld's much-fancied Along Came Casey looked poised to pounce. Try as Pat Smullen might, however, he could not get the 6/4 favourite on terms and despite closing in the final strides, Fiesolana held on to win by a head.
Aidan O'Brien's Snow Queen made late headway into third, with Lily's Angel and Hint Of A Tint also close up in behind, but William Haggas' raider Sentaril faded to finish unplaced, having tried to make all.
"Everything went very easy, she travelled well and picked up well," Lee said. "I thought Pat had me but she had a bit left in the locker."
McCreery added: "She's just a non-nonsense mare. That's another step up on ground that she wouldn't be keen on – I've not got any future plan in mind for her."
Earlier, Weld enjoyed better luck when his Simple Love made a very pleasing winning debut in the opening auction maiden. From the family of the smart Dance Design, the Moyglare Stud-owned filly went off at 14/1 due to sustained support for David Wachman's JP McManus-owned Hidden Oasis.
However, Fran Berry was at work early on the 11/10 favourite, while Smullen had tracked Johnny Murtagh's Pillow into the straight before striking for home to win by a length and a quarter. "She's a lovely filly. She's put a few nice pieces of work together and she worked on grass the other morning for the first time," said Weld.
The Ger Lyons string has hit a rich vein of form in recent weeks and he was on the mark with Lightnin Hopkins in the Family Day Sunday 14th July Handicap.
Bronte bounced out and looked like she might be able to maintain her advantage but Colin Keane kept pushing away on Lightnin Hopkins, which got on top by half a length.
Joseph O'Brien was on the mark in the seven-furlong handicap aboard 2/1 market leader Three Bells for trainer Patrick Downey, and the champion jockey later doubled up aboard his father Aidan's Great Explorer which just came out on top in the closing maiden.