Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 20 January 2018

Stack lands sensational four-timer

Billy Lee with 7/1 winner Zorija Rose. Photo: PA
Billy Lee with 7/1 winner Zorija Rose. Photo: PA

Thomas Kelly

The Stack family savoured a red-letter day at the Curragh yesterday as the beginning of the Irish Flat turf season yielded a 3,387/1 four-timer for the County Tipperary operation.

Trainer Tommy, who is ably assisted by his son Fozzy, can barely have enjoyed a better day since he partnered Red Rum to victory in the 1977 Grand National.

Stack sent just four runners to the Curragh and all four obliged, including Pollen (6/1), which landed the feature race of the day, the Group Three Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes.

Winner of the Irish Lincolnshire on the corresponding day 12 months ago, the five-year-old had to work hardest of all the Stack winners under Billy Lee, who was on board for two of the four scorers.

"That's unbelievable," beamed Fozzy Stack. "I was quite pally with John Mulhern (who died last week) and I think he must be looking down on us -- that's the only explanation I have.

"She's won the Lincoln last year and won here.

"She loves the ground. I don't know what's next -- that was her Derby."

The opening race of the season, the Tally Ho Stud EBF Maiden, saw High Award give first-season sire Holy Roman Emperor a winner at the earliest opportunity.

Aidan O'Brien's Emperor Hadrian, another of his offspring, was also in the race, but Stack's youngster, by Irish Guineas winner Tarascon, won by three-quarters of a length.

"He's a tough horse. He doesn't kill himself at home, as you can see by the size of his belly," Stack jnr said of Wayne Lordan's mount.

"We'll run him back in a winners' race, probably the Marble Hill. He'll be better going six furlongs and might turn into an Ascot horse."

Blue Dahlia (10/1) then showed the benefit of a recent run at Dundalk in the 'Go Racing In Kildare' Maiden.

The filly was certainly done no harm by jockey Mark Enright's 10lb claim.

"I'm a bit surprised. She was working very well before Dundalk, but maybe she didn't handle the surface or didn't like being crowded because it didn't go to plan," said Stack jnr.

Zorija Rose (7/1) then ran out a ready winner of the Curragh Racecourse Membership Handicap under Lee.

"We'll try and get a bit of black type for her and I saw a six-and-a-half-furlong Listed race in Germany," said Stack jnr. "The only one I thought might need the run was Zorija Rose -- and she won the easiest!"

Paul Deegan's Big Robert sprang a 33/1 surprise in the Tote Sport Lounge Irish Lincolnshire for promising 7lb claimer Kieran O'Neill.

Owned by Mark Gittins, who moved a large proportion of his horses to Deegan when Karl Burke was suspended, the six-year-old defied an uncompromising berth in stall 18.

Irish Independent

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