Thursday 22 March 2018

Grafelli class shines through for Bolger

Trainer Jim Bolger looks on after his horse, New Approach, won The Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. Photo: Getty Images
Trainer Jim Bolger looks on after his horse, New Approach, won The Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. Photo: Getty Images

Grafelli will head for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day after recording a second Group Three success in a matter of days in the Korean Racing Authority Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown last night.

Sent off the 13/8 second-favourite after strong support for Lines Of Battle, Jim Bolger's charge was being urged along three furlongs out as Kingston Jamaica set searching early fractions.

Lines Of Battle appeared to be travelling best on the outside of the field under Joseph O'Brien, but he wandered under pressure and had to settle for second as Grafelli kept finding for Kevin Manning to grind out a neck victory.

Grafelli, which landed the Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, was adding to Bolger's recent Tyros wins with Modeeroch (2005), Teofilo (2006) and New Approach (2007).

Bolger said: "He showed his class again today. He stays the trip well and shouldn't have any trouble with a mile. He will have a bit of a break now and then go to France for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day.

"I never saw a horse go on that ground on Sunday (soft to heavy) and lose just a kilo in weight. He was back to exactly the same weight this evening."

Manning said: "I thought it was a good performance giving them 3lb, he had to fight them off on both sides. It's a lot better ground tonight (than at the Curragh) and he's put up a game performance. He's improving from race to race and there's more improvement in him."

Stan James cut Grafelli for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, with spokesman Joseph Burke saying: "He has now proven himself a solid Group horse on both soft to heavy ground and on good ground, and as a result we have cut him to 20/1 from 33/1 for next year's 2,000 Guineas."


The same firm also shortened the Aidan O'Brien-trained Afonso de Sousa to 20/1 for the Guineas from 33s after he bolted up in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

Famous Name proved a class apart in the Jockey Club of Turkey Meld Stakes. Dermot Weld's seven-year-old boosted his fine course record with a comfortable success over Ballybacka Lady, with the outcome never in doubt as he recorded career success number 18.

The 3/10 favourite was settled in third early on and the race was over at the furlong pole as Famous Name cruised clear when Pat Smullen pressed the button. Smullen was able to ease right off near the line.

Weld said: "What can I say? He does it all. That is his 18th win and 17 of those have come at either Listed or Group level. He must be getting close to a record total of stakes race wins.

"The Royal Whip at the Curragh is the logical follow-on from here and this is his ground tonight. He is also entered in the Irish Champion Stakes here. He loves it at Leopardstown."

Meanwhile, Baily Green completed a hat-trick of novice chase wins when successful in the feature Grant Thornton Novice Chase over 2m 3f at Limerick.

Mouse Morris' 11/8 favourite made virtually all and jumped well throughout, putting in a great jump at the second last to score by a comfortable three lengths under David Casey.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Gimli's Rock couldn't match the winner and had to settle for second under Tommy Treacy.

Winning trainer Morris said afterwards: "He was a joy to watch. I would nearly ride him myself! He won't go to Galway as it will soft there and he needs good ground. He will probably go to Killarney or Listowel next."

Irish Independent

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