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Harrington lands superb Naas treble from comfort of home

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Remote control: Due to Covid-19 guidelines, trainer Jessica Harrington watches the racing at Naas from the comfort of her own living room with her dog Willow relaxing on the couch. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Remote control: Due to Covid-19 guidelines, trainer Jessica Harrington watches the racing at Naas from the comfort of her own living room with her dog Willow relaxing on the couch. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Remote control: Due to Covid-19 guidelines, trainer Jessica Harrington watches the racing at Naas from the comfort of her own living room with her dog Willow relaxing on the couch. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Jessica Harrington was unable to make the trip to the races due to Covid-19 restrictions but the jubilant roars from her living room "could probably have been heard in Naas" after the 73-year-old landed a brilliant 695/1 treble at the Kildare track.

With those aged 70 or over restricted from attending behind-closed-doors meetings, the Moone handler was forced to miss racing's resumption and make do with television coverage but she didn't stay in her seat for too long.

With maiden victories for Lucky Vega (9/2) and Masteroffoxhounds (9/2) followed up by a surprise Listed triumph for Punita Arora (22/1), Harrington was delighted to get her season off to a flyer, although she isn't sure about being forced to remain on the sidelines.

"It's great to have a few winners and settle the nerves a bit, I'm not sure I like this sitting at home watching it but at least we're racing anyway," Harrington said. "I was doing a bit of jumping up and down and shouting at the television, you probably could have heard me in Naas but I was delighted with that. It's great to get off the mark like that.

"I don't go every day when they're racing but I go most of the time. I just find it a bit strange but if it means that we can get racing going, let's do it, but stopping people over 70 going racing actually affects, at the moment, very few people.

"The only people to go racing, there might be a few people over 70 that work in yards but very few and a few trainers. And surely by the time we get to our age, we're old enough and bold enough to look after ourselves.

"You just miss not being there. We're well covered with videos and voiceovers and things like that but you miss the vibe when you're actually there."

With a crack Flat team in her care, Harrington has been busy preparing her squad for battle and is excited to see how Irish 1,000 Guineas favourite Albigna (6/4) fares in the Curragh Classic on Saturday.

On the track, Shane Foley was the star in the saddle - landing a 13,218/1 four-timer - as Irish racing bounced back with a bang but his exploits may have been overshadowed by Sceptical as Denis Hogan's sprinter booked his Royal Ascot ticket with another scintillating display.

No spectators were present but Sceptical (3/1 joint-favourite) still made a noise as the Godolphin cast-off, purchased for just £2,800 last year, scorched a quality field to land the Listed Woodlands Stakes under Joey Sheridan.

There will be a quick turnaround for the James McAuley-owned four-year-old with next week's five-day extravaganza at Ascot on his agenda but Hogan expects "the best horse" he's ever trained to take it in his stride, much like his young apprentice jockey Sheridan.

"He's a special horse and so easy to train. He'll probably go to Ascot next week for the King's Stand. He's the best horse by far that I've ever had," a delighted Hogan said. "I saw him doing a bit of work at Charlie Swan's last Tuesday. I've seen a lot of horses go up that gallop and I've never seen a horse go up it as quick and powerful. He's exciting and the kid on his back is exciting as well. He was in the deep end there and it didn't faze him."

Aidan O'Brien landed a brace with favourites Elfin Queen (13/8) and More Beautiful (11/4) taking the fillies' maidens under Seamie Heffernan but they were trumped by Foley and Harrington, who combined to land the Moone handler's treble.

Lucky Vega could be heading for the Coventry Stakes at Ascot after impressing in his maiden victory as Punita Arora sprung a big surprise. The pair also combined to take the concluding maiden with Masteroffoxhounds, while the Kilkenny jockey's memorable day was completed with a decisive handicap win aboard the Leanne Breen-trained Parkers Hill (18/1).

Irish Independent