No ifs or buts as Maybe strolls home
Joseph O'Brien enjoyed the second Curragh Group One success of his short career when steering Maybe to a bloodless victory in the Moyglare Stud Stakes yesterday.
The 18-year-old apprentice, whose father Aidan was saddling his sixth winner of the fillies' showpiece, had first tasted big-race glory on the front-running Roderic O'Connor in the 2,000 Guineas back in May. This was equally clear-cut, as Maybe, the fifth successive market leader to oblige on the day, easily justified her 8/13 SP.
As the much-anticipated rematch with the Phoenix winner La Collina, which eventually kept on for third, failed to materialise, it was left to David Wachman's Fire Lily to chase the winner home. However, by the time that one got motoring, Maybe, unbeaten now in five, had already put the race to bed.
The daughter of Galileo kept on to score by one and three parts of a length, hardening her position at the head of the betting for next year's 1,000 Guineas in the process. A general 3/1 chance for that Classic now, she could next head for the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp on Arc weekend, a race also won by O'Brien's 2010 Moyglare winner, Misty For Me.
"That would be an option now," said the Ballydoyle handler, who had also taken the opening two-year-old maiden with Crusade.
"Joseph said she was very uncomplicated. She has the gears and everything went very smooth."
Earlier, Ger Lyons and Johnny Murtagh had franked Maybe's form by landing the Go And Go Round Tower Stakes with Lightening Pearl. Third to the Moyglare heroine on her previous outing, the Marju filly progressed to secure the Group Three spoils here with a comprehensive five-length triumph over Experience.
Sent off the 6/4 favourite, Lightening Pearl was supplying Murtagh with his first win in the six-furlong contest for 13 years.
"Her run in the Debutante Stakes suggested she was good enough to win this. She's not very big, but has a big heart," said Meath-based handler Lyons. "I'll look at the Cheveley Park Stakes and the Redcar (Two Year Old) Trophy as there's a big pot for that.
"A Group One is important so if we get a chance we'll take it. The owner sponsors at Longchamp and there's a mile race there for her, so we'll have to decide about that."
In the Group Three Dance Design Stakes, Bible Belt continued her rise up the ranks. Returned at odds of 15/8, the Big Bad Bob three-year-old had won a Leopardstown handicap and a Gowran Park Listed event on her first two starts of the season.
A sixth winner in five days for Jessica Harrington, she quickened up impressively to stretch a length and a quarter clear for Fran Berry.
"Fran said she missed the kick early on and was actually off it for a bit," the Moone handler revealed. "But when she got out and he gave her a couple of slaps it was race over."
The Group Three Market Slide Flying Five went the way of British raider Amour Propre. Representing Henry Candy and ridden by Monkstown native Dane O'Neill, the five-year-old scored with the minimum of fuss from Sole Power, and is another that could head for Longchamp in October, with the Prix de l'Abbaye a likely target.
Beleaguered bookies got some respite when 20/1 shot Castle Bar Sling edged home in the €60,000 Cambridgeshire. Having ridden Fire Lily in vain pursuit of Maybe, the Thomond O'Mara-trained winner was also a welcome triumph for Wayne Lordan.
Elsewhere, Richard Hughes proved he is no one-trick pony with a deft front-running ride aboard Libranno in the Supreme Stakes at Goodwood.
Best known for his patient tactics, as advertised by the last-to-first success of Dubawi Gold 24 hours earlier in the Celebration Mile, the jockey needed to administer more affirmative handling for Libranno and quickly assumed command of the Group Three field.
In the home straight, however, he looked like an open target for Jacqueline Quest, and Hughes believed his mount was briefly overtaken by last year's disqualified 1,000 Guineas winner, but Libranno (7/2) battled back to finish a short-head up.
"He could go for the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp now," said trainer Richard Hannon.