Jack Naylor exploits drop in grade to take Gowran prize
Jack Naylor gained a deserved first win in over 12 months when stamping her authority all over yesterday's Gowran Park Group Three.
Since beating Legatissimo at the Curragh in August of last year, Jessica Harrington's smart three-year-old had competed well in Group One company, including when second in the Irish Oaks.
The daughter of Champs Elysees dropped in class and trip for this nine-furlong event, and took full advantage by running out a decisive winner from Easter under Fran Berry.
"It's great to get her head in front again," Harrington said of the evens favourite, which has an entry in a Group One at Ascot next month. "She found plenty and when she hits the front she doesn't do a whole lot."
In the opening maiden, Mick Halford's 11/8 favourite Rayisa did enough under Shane Foley to hold off Best In The World, a choicely-bred Ballydoyle newcomer that was tenderly handled by Seamie Heffernan.
At the other end of proceedings, Pullman Brown was the card's most impressive winner in the conditions race, David Marnane's 20/1 shot completing a 164/1 double for Connor King, who had earlier won aboard Newsman (14/1) for Johnny Murtagh.
"If you had told me it would be mid-September before I had a two-year-old winner I'd have said you were mad," Murtagh said of his first juvenile victor of 2015.
Of Pullman Brown's straightforward three-length win, Marnane said: "We might chance him in the November Handicap at Naas. We like him a lot."
In the rescheduled Lartigue Hurdle at Listowel, Tony Martin's well-backed Golden Spear (3/1 into 13/8 fav) looked particularly well-handicapped when careering away from Tigris River to lose his maiden status over flights at the sixth time of asking.
"It was nice to be getting 18lb from the top-weight," the winning rider Denis O'Regan said in reference to a runner-up that was easily put away.
Alan Fleming and Barry Connell combined to score for a fourth time at the festival when Chain Gang (5/6 fav) took the bumper under Finny Maguire, while Ruby Walsh also did his bit for favourite-backers when guiding the John Queally-trained Uncle Danny (8/11) to an emphatic win.
Unfortunately, Paul Carberry suffered a bad end to his Listowel on Saturday. The 41-year-old ex-champion broke his left femur when Rich Coast fell at the first fence in the beginners' chase. Carberry underwent surgery that night and tweeted that he could be sidelined for up to four months.
Across the water on Saturday, Louth native Richard Fahey stole the show with an across-the-card six-timer, which included a spectacular Ayr quartet. Fahey's Don't Touch justified 6/1 favouritism in the Ayr Gold Cup under Tony Hamilton, in the process stretching its unbeaten run to five, having only made its debut in May.
Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien has confirmed that Gleneagles' next target is the QE II at Ascot on October 17. O'Brien also suggested that his St Leger heroes Order Of St George and Bondi Beach will be considered for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup, after it was revealed that Australian owner Lloyd Williams had purchased shares in the trio.
The Ballydoyle genius has not had a runner in the Flemington showpiece since a contentious venture in 2008.