Harrington on double as Steps To Freedom shows class at Dundalk
Steps To Freedom produced a fine weight-carrying performance to register his first victory of the year with an impressive win in yesterday's Boylesports.com Handicap at Dundalk.
Jessica Harrington's dual-purpose performer showed smart form over hurdles last winter, but was well beaten in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Third behind Fame And Glory back on the level in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan, the son of Statue Of Liberty was sent off 15/8 favourite, despite carrying 10st 3lb.
Sensibly settled towards the rear by Fran Berry as outsider Cloone Rocket set a ferocious pace, Steps To Freedom made gradual headway through the field. He quickened up to lead heading towards the furlong marker and soon put the race to bed, passing the post with four and a half lengths in hand over Night Glimmer, with Rattan back in third.
"I'm absolutely delighted -- to do that under 10st 3lb is a good performance," Harrington explained. "He is entered in the Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown next Thursday and also in the Ebor at York and the Irish St Leger, so he has plenty of options."
Harrington and Berry went on to record a near 8/1 double when their Go On Murt finished strongly to edge out The Reek in the one-mile handicap.
Earlier, Calm Bay landed a gamble for the Harry Rogers yard, as the six-year-old recorded his third win on the all-weather track by making all in the opening five-furlong handicap under Sam James to keep Copper Dock at bay by a half-length.
James went on to complete a double by guiding David Marnane's He's Got Rhythm to a one-length victory from Invincible Soul in the seven-furlong claimer.
The day's training honours went to David Wachman, who teamed up with Wayne Lordan for a near 70/1 treble. First up was the victory of Strike Action, which completed a Wachman 1-2 when beating stablemate Feathers And Bows in the six-furlong maiden. Lordan then shone aboard Circumstances in the 10-furlong handicap, while the odds-on Jessie Jane completed the hat-trick in the finale.