Thursday 22 March 2018

'Lord' delivers Cesarewitch upset for Rogers and Hoban

Trainer Harry Rogers. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Sportsfile
Trainer Harry Rogers. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Lord Erskine ran out a decisive winner of the Irish Cesarewitch at Navan for trainer Harry Rogers and jockey Conor Hoban.

Despite arriving on the back of wins at Roscommon and Listowel, the four-year-old was largely unconsidered beforehand and was sent off at 25/1.

The son of Fast Company made a mockery of those odds, travelling sweetly in the slipstream of the leaders before powering clear in the closing stages.

Snow Falcon threw down a strong challenge, but was no match for the two-and-a-half-length victor, with Ted Veale and Miles To Memphis filling the minor placings.

Rogers said: "They went a nice gallop, he was off a light weight and it suited him. It's nice to get a prize like that for a good owner. He was a weak horse when I got him first and he's just got better with a bit of time."

Gobi Desert continued his education as he came with a late run to take the Legacy Stakes under a great ride from Colin Keane, who is now one ahead of Pat Smullen in the race to be crowned champion Flat jockey.

Trainer Ger Lyons said: "He hated the ground. Colin blamed himself the last day for riding him too prominent, but rode him the way he wanted to today.

"You have to ride him cold, but he's a seven-furlong minimum horse on better ground. I think that will be his final run (this year) and hopefully we will hold on to him. He will be a nice horse next year on better ground."

The drop in trip helped Michael Grassick's Texas Rock run out a game winner of the Waterford Testimonial Stakes. The six-year-old was running over a mile just three starts back, yet the stiff six furlongs in this Listed contest was right up his street.

The race changed in complexion with 100 yards to run when Alphabet's stride began to shorten and it became clear she was going to be caught. The cavalry were charging with Son Of Rest, Maarek and G Force all in the chasing pack, but Fran Berry ensured that Texas Rock (16/1) prevailed in a tight finish.

Grassick said: "I was going to run him in the Concorde last weekend, but the ground was so bad I'd only tear the heart out of him. We said we'd take a chance at six (furlongs) and Joe (Keeling, owner) was quite keen to give it a go.

"The finish is testing here and we felt that would play into his hands. He'll probably go for the Knockaire Stakes at Leopardstown over seven furlongs and that will be him for the year."

Aidan O'Brien's Bye Bye Baby won in the style that a 5/4 favourite should in the Staffordstown Stud Stakes.

Donnacha O'Brien kept things simple and bounced straight out in front on the Galileo filly. Nothing got close to O'Brien's market leader, with Madeleine Tylicki's Coeur D'Amour over two lengths back in second.

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