Smullen excels to nab Ballyroan on Purpose
Sense Of Purpose provided the all-conquering combination of Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen with a third consecutive Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown last night.
Smullen was in exceptional form in this Group Three affair, making every yard of the running aboard the Galileo filly. In doing so, she confirmed her superiority over Bob Le Beau, which had finished second to her in a Listed heat at this track in July.
Bob Le Beau was third as Aidan O'Brien's Marksmanship, the 7/4 favourite, came fast and late to occupy the runner-up berth, half a length adrift of the accomplished winner.
Weld, who had been successful in the Ballyroan in the last two seasons with Profound Beauty, now has the option of heading to the Betfred Ebor at York, for which Sense Of Purpose was cut from 16/1 into 12/1 by Paddy Power, although she is not a certain runner.
Mount Athos, which is also entered in the Ebor, finished fourth.
"This is such a courageous filly," Weld said. "If you could parcel her courage into all racehorses, you'd have a superstar. It was also a wonderful ride from Pat.
"The Irish Leger is a definite possibility, but we'll see what is likely to be in the race. The Park Hill at Doncaster may also be an option, while the Melbourne Cup is a possibility, but next year."
O'Brien enjoyed better luck in the opening juvenile maiden as Learn -- which had to settle for second behind a Weld hotpot at Galway -- made no mistake.
The Ballydoyle representative blasted out of the stalls and into a lead which he never relinquished, finding plenty for Colm O'Donoghue's urgings to beat Strada Colorato by five lengths.
Jim Bolger's newcomer Singe The Turf -- a full-brother to the high-class Soldier Of Fortune -- looks to have a bright future ahead, as he careered away in the final furlong to score by six lengths under Kevin Manning.
Three-year-olds held sway in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap as Kate Greenaway swooped late under Niall McCullagh to beat Act Of Love by a length and a quarter.
Johnny Murtagh found a very willing partner in Words Of Wisdom, as Edward Lynam's 3/1 fav fended off the challenge of Alpha And Omega to land the leopardstown.com Handicap.
Murtagh then secured a double in the concluding staying handicap, timing it just right on John Oxx's Dimona.
She came home a length and a quarter clear of Star Power with the game front-runner Nantucket Bay boxing on for third.
"She stayed well," Oxx said.
"There was a bit of a question mark whether a three-year-old would get the two miles well.
"She showed a little turn of foot at the end and did it well. We might stick to distances over a mile and a half. She's versatile and will handle softish ground as well."
At Sligo, Willie Mullins continued his resurgence by landing a hat-trick.
The champion trainer's Earls Quarter ran out a comfortable winner of the opening maiden hurdle with Paul Townend aboard.
Number two came courtesy of his 3/10 favourite Rattan, which was made to work hard by Heavenly Bound, but Townend's mount did just enough.
The 7/4 favourite Pickapocketortwo completed the Mullins' treble when he won the Setanta Screens Maiden Hurdle with his son Patrick aboard.