Santa Monica swoops late for Lee in Cork feature
Outsider Santa Monica sprang a surprise for Charles O'Brien as the 20/1 shot swooped late to claim yesterday's Munster Oaks at Cork.
In near-perfect conditions, the Jim Bolger-trained Glamorous Approach was the 9/4 favourite to complete a hat-trick after successive wins at the Curragh and she was travelling strongly at the top of the straight.
She soon threw down her challenge and engaged in a three-way battle for the lead with Aidan O'Brien's pair of Key To My Heart and Butterflies.
Santa Monica had been nearer last than first when rounding the home turn, but she soon found her stride for Billy Lee (right).
As the leaders began to run out of steam, Charles O'Brien's filly found a gap between Glamorous Approach and Butterflies, and she dug deep to get up to score by a neck. Butterflies beat Glamorous Approach to the runner-up spot by just over a length.
"I didn't really travel all that well early on until about five furlongs out, but crept into the race," said Lee.
"She had the experience and started to get to them then and has her job done now."
The Midsummer Sprint produced another 20/1 winner as Hit The Bid took the Listed prize for Darren Bunyan.
The three-year-old finished well beaten on his two previous starts this year, but Leigh Roche's mount raced on the pace throughout and kept up the gallop to prevail by three-quarters of a length from Go Kart in second.
This five-furlong contest had gone to the raiding party in four of the last six years, but the sole British challenger in this year's renewal, Paul Midgley's veteran Monsieur Joe, was only fifth.
Tony Martin's useful, dual-purpose performer Moonmeister overcame an absence of eight to land a thrilling renewal of the Cork Derby.
Ridden by talented apprentice Oisin Orr, the 8/1 shot knuckled down to get the better of Spruce Meadows by a neck, with Here For The Craic and Zamira close up in third and fourth.
"He was consistent all last year and was unlucky in York, but he always had one of those in him," Martin said. "We were going to the Curragh a month ago, but he just wasn't right. Luckily enough it was worth the wait."
Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen combined for a 24/1 first/last race double. The pair took the opening juvenile fillies' maiden with India Rain (4/1), which was prominent all the way before seeing off Damselfly by a short head. The Rosewell House team also landed the closing 10-furlong maiden with Harrana (4/1), which dug deep to beat favourite Spanish Steps by just under a length.