Nephrite leaves Sea followers adrift
Aidan O'Brien's Nephrite upset the odds-on Born To Sea with a decisive win over Sea The Stars' brother in yesterday's JRA Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown.
In doing so, Nephrite boosted his Classic claims for 2012 and is now unbeaten in two starts after Joseph O'Brien brought the Pivotal colt through to pick off John Oxx's youngster to go on to score by one and a half lengths. However, it was later reported that on examination Born To Sea was found to be lame.
While Johnny Murtagh made smooth progress on the 8/11 favourite to lead a furlong out, it was only brief as Nephrite found a decent turn of foot to stamp his authority.
"He progressed nicely from his maiden. He travelled well today and Joseph gave him a confident ride," said O'Brien Snr. "He was stepping up to seven furlongs and looked to get it well. He should prefer better ground."
When asked about the English 2,000 Guineas, O'Brien replied: "We'll get through the winter and we'll see after that."
Thomasgainsborough, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, pipped I Have A Dream by a short head to give O'Brien a one-two in the juvenile maiden for colts and geldings.
Zaminast proved an able deputy for her illustrious stablemate Famous Name by winning the Trigo Stakes. With last year's winner a late absentee due to lameness, Dermot Weld's stable jockey Pat Smullen switched to the lightly-raced filly for the Listed contest.
The 7/4 favourite came with a wet sail on the outside to head the pace-setting Amazing Beauty and go on to score by two and three-quarter lengths from Defining Year.
"She's very progressive and I hope she'll be kept in training next year. She hasn't had a major problem, she's just very delicate," explained Weld. "She's very immature, she's still very weak and she likes this ground, she's not one for summer ground. I think she'll be in Group races next year."
That was the middle leg of a near 222/1 treble for Smullen, who cut Murtagh's lead down to two in the race to be champion jockey. Smullen also struck on Coolnagree for Willie McCreery and Midnight Music for Weld.
Coolnagree was giving Curragh trainer McCreery a third successive win in the seven-furlong nursery, and Midnight Music came late to capture the Follow Leopardstown On Facebook Handicap.
North Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey sent 9/2 favourite Take It To The Max to land the Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap Final in the hands of Leigh Roche.
Eternal Beauty reaped the benefit of a promising debut to open her account in the opening juvenile fillies maiden for trainer David Wachman and jockey Wayne Lordan.
At Wexford, former smart hurdler Donnas Palm made a winning chase debut under Paul Carberry in the Royal Marine Hotel Beginners Chase, which was run in thick fog.
The contest looked a fair event for its type on paper and Noel Meade's grey had three and a half lengths to spare over Gates Of Rome.
Willie Murphy's Madame Mado took the mares hurdles after making all to beat Sugar Bullet under a fine ride from Barry Cash.
Ruby Walsh took the opening maiden hurdle aboard the John Berry-trained Savello, while Christy Roche's purple patch continued as A Country Girl landed the bumper in the hands of his son Padraig.
After Savello's race, trainer Pat Flynn and jockey Shay Barry were up before the stewards following the running and riding of 11th-placed Mister Music Man.
They suspended Barry for seven racedays and ordered that he forfeit his riding fee. They fined Flynn €1,000 and suspended Mister Music Man for 42 days.