Star fails to shine in trial for Breeders'
FORMER Group One winner Starspangledbanner could finish only fourth to Balmont Mast in the Listed Mercury Stakes at Dundalk.
Ballydoyle's Australian import -- which returned to racing this season after an unsuccessful period at stud -- is being primed for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint by Aidan O'Brien but did not find a great deal for pressure.
Despite his outside draw, Starspangledbanner was quickly into contention under Joseph O'Brien but was rather easily overtaken by the Eddie Lynam-trained winner close to home.
The Johnny Murtagh-ridden Balmont Mast (7/2) had a length in hand over Nocturnal Affair, with Timeless Call third.
Afterwards, O'Brien felt his charge needed the run and would still head to America, while Lynam said of Balmont Mast: "He's a good horse and he'll go to Dubai.
"He's in the Golden Rose in Lingfield (November 17) in a few weeks and we'll see about that."
Earlier, the Ger Lyons-trained Lily's Angels she made it two from two for the Glenburnie Stables operator in the opening EBF (Fillies) Race, travelling like a dream and extending away inside the last to beat Devotion by three lengths.
Lyons said of the Leopardstown Champion Stakes Day victor: "She likes the Irish air... The plan is to go for a Listed race here over a mile (November 9, the Cooley Stakes for fillies) and it could also be on the agenda to go to Dubai.
• Jamie Spencer has been confirmed as the retained rider for Sheikh Fahad of Qatar's increasingly potent racing arm.
• Gordon Elliott's Romanesco (9/2) made amends for his costly spill at Cheltenham by taking the three-mile handicap chase at Fakenham for Timmy Murphy, while Davy Russell made his visit to Newcastle pay on Nicky Richards' Duke Of Navan (11/8) in the novice hurdle.