Thursday 19 July 2018

Flattering bounces back in O'Brien treble

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: PA
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: PA

Thomas Kelly

Flattering made the most of having her sights lowered when claiming the spoils in yesterday's Munster Oaks at Cork.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien had claimed this Group Three prize three times in the last four years and having finished fifth behind stablemate Forever Together in the Epsom Oaks little over a fortnight ago, Flattering was a 5/2 shot in the hands of Seamie Heffernan.

The daughter of Galileo made a smart start and was soon bowling along at the head of affairs.

The hat-trick seeking Bloomfield proved the biggest threat, throwing down a strong challenge in the home straight, but Flattering was always doing enough to hold her at bay and passed the post a length ahead.

"She had a very good run in the Classic at Epsom and I thought if she reproduced that run, she would be hard to beat," Heffernan said.

"She's getting fit, she's straightforward and genuine. The plan was to jump and go forward and if I wasn't comfortable, I'd let something else make it."

The winner's stablemate Sizzling was third, with 9/4 favourite Jaega ultimately a shade disappointing in fifth place.

The feature success was the middle leg of a treble for the Ballydoyle supremo who got out of the blocks quickly by sending out Mohawk to justify 4/7 favouritism in the opening seven-furlong maiden for juveniles. Joseph O'Brien's Eagle Song tried to make all the running, and his brother Donnacha was having to get serious on Mohawk from early in the straight but the market leader responded and stayed on well to prevail by three-parts of a length.

The same jockey was in the plate for the success of Victory Salute in the 10-furlong maiden. The 6/4 favourite made every post a winning one to prevail by two lengths from Legal Spin.

Up in Downpatrick, Gordon Elliott took the training honours with a 64/1 hat-trick, kick-started by the success of Ravenhill in the two-mile, five furlong maiden hurdle.

Turbo, which had won a bumper at this venue, had tried to make all the running but a mistake at the final flight opened the door for the 6/4 market leader which was pushed out by Davy Russell for a two-length success.

Russell was also aboard for the middle leg of the Elliott treble as he guided Count Simon (9/4f) to a five-and-a-half-length win in the novice hurdle over an extended two miles.

Carrie Des Champs completed the trio of winners for the Cullentra handler in impressive fashion by running away with the closing mares' bumper.

Backed from 10/1 into 7/1, Lisa O'Neill's mount improved from mid-division to go into second with five furlongs left before stepping up the gallop in the final two furlongs to account for stablemate Melior by 10 lengths.

Burke joy in France

Laurens gave trainer Karl Burke and jockey PJ McDonald their first taste of Classic success with a determined victory in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly.

She broke smartly from a poor draw and while she was trapped wide throughout, Laurens was still travelling strongly at the top of the home straight.

Former jumps jockey McDonald had to get to work with two furlongs to run, but Laurens answered his every call to see off all-comers. Musis Amica finished strongly to take second ahead of Homerique and Aidan O'Brien's Happily.

Burke said: "We're all ecstatic. Every winning jockey gives a horse a good ride, but I thought PJ was exceptional on her. She's in the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks is a race we'd love to go for."

Irish Independent

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