Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Home Of The Brave seals dream weekend for Palmer

Home Of The Brave ridden by jockey James Doyle
Home Of The Brave ridden by jockey James Doyle

Thomas Kelly

Home Of The Brave could go for Newbury's Betfred Hungerford Stakes next after giving trainer Hugo Palmer a weekend big-race double at the Curragh.

Less than 24 hours after Covert Love gave the Newmarket trainer his first Classic triumph in the Darley Irish Oaks, Home Of The Brave took Group Three honours in the Friarstown Stud Minstrel Stakes.

James Doyle made all the running on the European Free Handicap winner, which had run with credit in both the English 2,000 Guineas and Commonwealth Cup.

The opposition had no answer when Doyle kicked on two furlongs out as Home Of The Brave (7/2) pulled clear to score by three and a half lengths from Gordon Lord Byron, and Palmer expressed surprise at the manner of the victory.

"I thought he'd win but I didn't quite think he'd win like that," said the trainer. "The Hungerford Stakes (on August 15) would look the obvious next target. There is the Prix Maurice de Gheest but that might be his Group One for next year."

Wedding Vow (6/1) lost her maiden tag in style when achieving Group Two honours in the Kilboy Estate Stakes.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained filly had disappointed on her previous start in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot but showed improved form when dropped down in trip to nine furlongs.

Joseph O'Brien brought Wedding Vow with a sweeping run to lead half a furlong from home and defeat 11/4 favourite Brooch by two lengths.

"She had nice form earlier in the year but was too keen in Ascot over a mile and a half with the blinkers on," said the winning rider.

"Back in trip today she settled. There wasn't much pace on and in fairness, she quickened up really well. We could think about races in America for her or the Matron or something like that."

Jim Bolger's Leafy Shade (100/30) made a pleasing debut when opening her account in the opening juvenile fillies maiden under Kevin Manning.

"Hopefully she's a filly with a future," said Bolger. "She would have no problem with another furlong or a mile."

Manning then completed a double in the Jacqui Bolger colours on Leath Na Hoibre (2/1 favourite), which claimed the nursery for trainer Brendan Duke.

The race was named after Pat O'Donovan, Bolger's assistant, who won the Irish Racing Excellence Award at Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

Duke explained: "Myself and Pat go back a long way and are really good friends so I was under a bit of pressure.

"This means an awful lot to me personally to win this race. Pat thoroughly merited the award and is one of the huge number of people behind the front-line who gets the front-line people to where they are."

Willie McCreery's Champagne Or Water (8/1) warded off Gallope to land the fillies handicap by three-quarters of a length under Billy Lee.

Pat Smullen, who guided Covert Love home in the Irish Oaks, continued his good run with victory on Digeanta (2/1 favourite) for Willie Mullins in the O'Brien's Wines Handicap.

"Everything worked out perfectly for him as they went hard from the start," said Smullen.

The champion jumps trainer's brother, Tony, took the concluding fillies maiden with 12/1 outsider Diamond Rio, which edged out favourite Catalyst under Bolger's apprentice Danny Redmond.

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