Lynam long-shot floors punters
Not for the first time this year, Naas lived up to its reputation yesterday as the 'punter's graveyard' by producing a 40/1 winner of the opening juvenile race in Redstaroverchina.
All the money in the Birdcatcher Day 18th October Race was for Mick Halford's Al Qahwa, which was the subject of some big bets - being backed from 5/4 into 4/6 favourite.
And for much of the six-furlong contest, favourite backers must have been pleased with themselves as the market leader travelled well for Shane Foley at the head of affairs, but then came a storming late run from Eddie Lynam's outsider Redstaroverchina.
To his credit, Al Qahwa tried to rally in the last 100 yards, but the market leader couldn't resist the surge of Pat Smullen's mount which got up by a neck to belie his long-shot status.
Afterwards, Lynam said that he felt his filly had improved significantly for her debut run the previous month.
"I was talking to myself after the way she ran the first day but she picked up and learned today," said the Co Meath-based handler
"We'll look for a bit of black type now as she's a well-bred filly. That's my first winner for the owner so that's good."
There was some joy for favourite backers as Jim Bolger's well-bred Herald The Dawn justified his position at the head of the market (15/8) by opening his account in style in the seven-furlong maiden for two-year-old.
The Godolphin-owned colt is a full-brother to former stable star Dawn Approach, which won twice at the track during a stellar career that included four Group One triumphs.
Following an encouraging debut when runner-up at the track last month, Herald The Dawn showed a sharp turn of foot in the hands of Kevin Manning to seal a two-and-a-quarter-length victory over his main market rival London.
The exciting colt holds a host of big-race entries, including the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh on August 23, but Bolger sees the youngster as a work in progress.
"He is not as precocious as his brother and it will not be until next year that we see the best of him," said the Coolcullen maestro.
"He could step up in distance and we will have to have a good think about where we go next."
Texas Rock was another that justified market support as the 9/4 joint favourite captured the Kildare Post Rated Race for Michael Grassick, pulling clear of Ger Lyons-trained pair Greek Canyon and Joe Eile under Fran Berry.
But there was another big-priced winner in the seven-furlong handicap as William Ashford (20/1) came with a powerful run under Tom 'Socks' Madden to provide trainer John Hayden with his first win since August of 2011.
Battleroftheboyne is a great advertisement for the skills of trainer Mick Mulvaney and the hardy six-year-old showed his durability by taking the six-furlong handicap by a length and a half under Robbie Downey.
The Willie Browne-trained Little Treasure (5/1) ran out a game winner of the six-furlong maiden as Seamie Heffernan drove her to a length-and-a-half success from the well-backed Compass Hill, with favourite Curlylocks trailing home in seventh.
The closing fillies' maiden saw another short-priced favourite turned over as Ebayya (evens) was brushed aside by David Marnane's Octavia (6/1) which made all in the hands of Connor King to score by two lengths.