Irishcorrespondent writes himself into Guineas picture
Champion jockey Pat Smullen took the riding honours at the Curragh yesterday with a treble, but it was Michael Halford's Irishcorrespondent which left the biggest impression of the equine performers on view.
The unbeaten colt looks set to take his chance in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas after his emphatic victory under Shane Foley in the EBF conditions event over a mile.
Successful on his Leopardstown debut in a maiden that is working out well, the son of Teofilo was sent off the 8/11 favourite and settled in third of the five runners.
Homesman took over from Branch Line at the head of affairs, but his lead was only brief as Irishcorrespondent loomed alongside and Shane Foley did not have to get too serious for him to stretch four-and-a-half lengths clear.
"He's a lovely horse. He has everything. He's got temperament, action, cruising speed and he quickens. He's a very smart horse," said Halford.
"We were half-tempted to drop him back to seven for the Tetrarch, but I thought the ground was very quick for him and I wasn't keen on dropping him back to seven."
Smullen got his hat-trick rolling by guiding the evergreen Tandem, trained by his boss Dermot Weld, to victory in the Courtyard Shopping Centre Newbridge Race over 12 furlongs.
The eight-year-old (13/8 favourite)returned from a lengthy lay-off to strike at Tipperary last month and Smullen (above) settled him in second as Wayne Lordan dictated terms to suit himself on Love Potion.
Tandem hit the front approaching the furlong pole and showed plenty of determination when challenged by Jaqen H'Ghar to cross the line with half a length to spare.
Weld and Smullen were at it again in the very next race as Dabulena strode away with the 10 furlong fillies maiden. The 2/1 favourite sat outside leader Afternoon Delight until Smullen set sail for home early in the straight, and Dabulena was a willing accomplice as she disposed of Black Ruby by a length.
Smullen had to wait until the finale to complete his treble courtesy of the Aidan Anthony Howard-trained Not A Whisper (13/2) in the Newbridge Parishes Race Day Handicap over a mile.
Earlier, Acapulco made the perfect start to her career with Aidan O'Brien, as she took the featured Listed Sole Power Sprint Stakes.
The daughter of Scat Daddy, which ran away with the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2015, won twice in her native America last year before finishing sixth on her most recent outing at Santa Anita in November.
Now in foal to Galileo and fitted with a hood, she was sent off the 11/8 favourite, with Donnacha O'Brien in the saddle. The Ballydoyle filly hit the front inside the final furlong and kept on well to edge out Arhoomy by half a length with Willytheconqueror (12/1) doing best of the raiders back in third.
This completed a double for the O'Brien father and son team, who landed the opening juvenile maiden for fillies with Actress (1/3), which could now be heading for Royal Ascot.