Sinaniya gets Oxx off to perfect start
John Oxx got his Derby weekend off to the perfect start when he sent out exciting youngster Sinaniya to land an all-the-way success under Johnny Murtagh in the opening juvenile fillies' contest at the Curragh.
The American-bred daughter of More Than Ready was soon in front and went clear over a furlong out. Eventual runner-up My Special J's rallied well inside the last furlong but was a head down at the line.
"I didn't think she'd win on the ground as both sides of her pedigree suggest she wants it better," said Oxx. "We won't be in any hurry with her and we'll then try to get a bit of black type."
Aidan O'Brien also figured among the winners as he saddled Warwick Avenue to claim a front-running success in the concluding 10-furlong maiden.
Ridden by the trainer's son Joseph, the son of Montjeu made all and stayed on strongly in the straight to comfortably defeat Brinestine.
After the race, however, the Ballydoyle maestro revealed that Camelot would only run in today's Derby if the rain held off.
"We want to run Camelot and as long as the heavens don't open tonight he probably will run," O'Brien explained. "I haven't had a chance to talk to all the lads (jockeys) to see what they think of the ground yet but I'll be speaking to them later."
Meanwhile, owner Andrew Tinkler's Irish operation picked up a valuable dividend when progressive three-year-old Ursa Major took the featured Derby Festival EBF Handicap.
Never out of the first two in four starts for the Tommy Carmody team, the son of Galileo was following up a seven-length victory over the same course and distance earlier this month, having gone up 10lb.
Niall McCullagh came down the wide outside in the straight with a long sweeping run on the 11/4 favourite and beat Buy Back Bob by a length and a half.
"He keeps improving," said Carmody. "He could go for a Listed race now and, depending on how he gets on, maybe a Group Three after that."
Shamiran won over hurdles at the Punchestown Festival in April and made it a notable double by landing the Apprentice Derby for trainer Stephen Nolan.
The seven-year-old looked to be struggling as Equity Swap and Paddy The Celeb fought for the lead heading to the final furlong, but the 8/1 shot stayed on dourly for Mark Enright and grabbed them in the shadow of the post to beat the former by a head.
Punters who sided with Mick Halford's 2/1 chance Regulation in the Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital Maiden never had a moment's worry as the three-year-old travelled best throughout and could be called the winner a long way out.
Shane Foley nudged him up to join leader Paene Magnus at the furlong pole and he quickened nicely clear to beat the staying-on Lady Jock by three and a half lengths.
Halford and Foley completed a double when Massiyn (8/1) collared Vedani close home to take the Silken Thomas Handicap by half a length, with both protagonists running in the colours of the Aga Khan who was also on the mark with Oxx's Sinaniya.