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O'Brien chalks up 19th win in Beresford with Innisfree

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Triumph: Millisle, ridden by Shane Foley, on the way to winning The Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. Photo: Nigel French/PA Wire.

Triumph: Millisle, ridden by Shane Foley, on the way to winning The Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. Photo: Nigel French/PA Wire.

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Triumph: Millisle, ridden by Shane Foley, on the way to winning The Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. Photo: Nigel French/PA Wire.

Innisfree provided Aidan O'Brien with a record 19th success in the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh yesterday.

It is 23 years since the Ballydoyle handler first landed the prestigious juvenile contest with Johan Cruyff, since when he has saddled the likes of Septimus (2005), St Nicholas Abbey (2009), Saxon Warrior (2017) and last year's hero, Japan, to claim victory.

O'Brien was triple-handed in this year's renewal following the declaration stage, but with both Cormorant and Royal County Down taken out, Innisfree ended up being his sole representative.

Better

Having filled the runner-up spot behind stable companion Year Of The Tiger on his racecourse debut at Naas in early July, the son of Galileo went one better when justifying being an odds-on favourite on the opening day of the Galway Festival.

He was once again prohibitive odds to give O'Brien a ninth straight win in this Group Two contest - and supporters of the 4-6 shot were made to sweat before collecting their winnings.

Dermot Weld's Shekhem - beaten by just a neck by Innisfree at Galway and since a comprehensive winner at Listowel - took the five runners along for much of the one-mile journey, with Innisfree positioned in second by the trainer's son, Donnacha.

The market leader moved alongside racing inside the final furlong, but Shekhem refused to go down without a fight and in the end Innisfree was all out to beat his old rival by a neck for the second time.

"It went smooth. Chris (Hayes, on Shekhem) went a nice, even gallop and my lad travelled lovely," said the winning jockey.

"He's got plenty of pace, brought me into the race really nicely and stuck his head out the last furlong.

"I was impressed with Shekhem in Listowel when he won and I knew he's no slouch. I knew he'd take a bit of beating, but my lad has improved from his maiden as well.

"I think there is still a bit of improvement in him, and nicer ground will see him step up again. He's a nice horse going forward."

New York Girl lunged late to claim top honours in the Weld Park Stakes at the Curragh.

A promising fourth on her racecourse debut at Cork at the start of the month, the daughter of New Approach was thrown in at the deep end for this Group Three contest - and was priced up accordingly at 12-1.

Johnny Murtagh's course-and-distance winner Know It All looked the most likely winner after travelling powerfully to the front, but she was first passed by A New Dawn before the Joseph O'Brien-trained New York Girl got up in the shadow of the post to beat them both.

Shane Crosse's mount was confirmed the winner by a neck from A New Dawn, with Know It All only half a length further back in third.

Meanwhile, Jessica Harrington's Millisle showed a decisive turn of foot in the final furlong to snatch victory from Raffle Prize in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Shane Foley produced the 16/1 outsider with a telling run on the stands rail to catch Mark Johnston's 10/11 favourite, ridden by Frankie Dettori, in the last half-furlong after the latter had made most of the running.

Millisle relished the rising ground to hit the front and take the Group One prize by a length and three-quarters.

Irish Independent