Red Tea proves sweet for O'Brien brothers in Curragh feature
Classy Red Tea proved the highlight of a double for brothers Joseph and Donnacha O'Brien as the six-year-old dominated from the front in a depleted Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh.
Just five went to post for the nine-furlong Group Two, with the William Haggas-trained Move Swiftly - which would have been favourite to follow up her Royal Ascot victory - the most significant of three non-runners.
In the British raider's absence, Red Tea was the 11/10 market leader, having finished eighth behind Move Swiftly at the Royal meeting on her latest appearance.
Donnacha O'Brien sent the six-year-old straight to the lead and gradually raised the tempo. Goddess - trained by father Aidan - attempted to close the gap late on, but Red Tea never looked in danger of being caught and was good value for the official winning margin of two lengths.
"Donnacha gave her a lovely ride, kept it very simple and controlled the race," said the winning trainer.
"It cut up a little bit in fairness. But still, she had to go and do it - and she's done it well. She's a filly that could maybe travel a little bit. The Blandford Stakes (back at the Curragh) could be another option."
The O'Brien brothers' brace was initiated by the success of Latin Five in the six-furlong nursery, in which the 5/2 second favourite made all the running to see off Captain Corcoran by two lengths.
Eddie Lynam's fast-improving filly Soffia put the raiding party in their place with an impressive display in the Friarstown Stud Sapphire Stakes.
A field of nine went to post for the five-furlong Group Two, five of whom were aiming to take the prize back to Britain for the fifth consecutive year.
Having followed up a Listed success at Naas with a course-and-distance victory in last month's Ballyogan Stakes, Soffia was a 6/1 shot in the hands of Chris Hayes, and it was impossible not to be taken by the way she shot three-and-a-half lengths clear with relative ease.
John Quinn's admirable performer El Astronaute fared best of the raiders in second, ahead of the Charlie Hills-trained Garrus in third. Lynam said: "I thought she was good - I didn't know she was that good!"
The winner is likely to step up to Group One level on her next appearance. "She'll have two more entries, the Flying Five and the Abbaye. She's not in the Nunthorpe," Lynam added.
O'Brien Snr also got on the mark, with his Il Paradiso turning the closing two-miles into a procession as Wayne Lordan eased the 11/10 favourite 12 lengths clear of runner-up Shakespear'sgalley.