Monday 22 January 2018

Vitalized strikes for Bolger but goes home with Mullins

Bolger: Landed opener at Gowran
Bolger: Landed opener at Gowran

Thomas Kelly

Jim Bolger likes nothing better than sending out a winner at his local Gowran Park track and the Coolcullen maestro didn't have long to wait last night.

The trainer's Vitalized was the subject of sustained support in the opening claimer and was always travelling like a winner in the hands of Kevin Manning.

With two furlongs to run, Manning sent his mount to the front and the issues was soon put beyond doubt as the market leader galloped clear to comfortably beat Love Letter by almost four lengths.

In the subsequent auction for the winner, Willie Mullins emerged triumphant, and no doubt, the Vocalised filly's attention will be quickly turned to hurdles.

There was a notable winner in the subsequent nine and a half furlong handicap as talented apprentice Connor King rode out his claim by guiding Daliyan to victory for Rodger Sweeney.

The six-year-old son of Red Ransom sat off the pace early before moving into sixth place on the turn for home, but the 8/1 shot needed all of King's urgings to challenge at the furlong pole before staying on strongly to edge out Could Would Should by a half-length.

There was another local success in the nursery as the well-backed Lass Vega (7/1) took the spoils for Tony Mullins. Having run a very creditable sixth to Bolger's smart juvenile Smash Williams at the Curragh, the daughter of Lope De Vega was making her handicap debut and despite hanging to the left close home, rider Ronan Whelan kept her going to deny Set To Fire by a head.

Elsewhere, Willie McCreery is keen to find Devonshire an opportunity to get her head in front before the season is out following another good effort in defeat at the Curragh last weekend.

The daughter of Fast Company has only once finished out of the first four this season, performing particularly well when third in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. She stepped up to nine furlongs for the first time in the Dance Design Stakes on Sunday and was not disgraced in finishing fourth.

Devonshire does hold an entry in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday week, but McCreery will wait until nearer the time before deciding whether to return to the highest level.

"She got caught in a pocket in what wasn't a truly-run race," he explained. "She looked like she was going to get swallowed up in the straight, but once she got into clear daylight she was staying on again.

"We'll keep an eye on it (Matron Stakes). You'll get a truly-run race there, but it might be asking a lot for her to break her duck for the year in a race like that.

"There are a few options for her later on and it would be great to get her head in front as she's been a warrior all year without winning.

"She's run very consistently all season apart from the run at Royal Ascot on very fast ground, so we can forgive her that."

Irish Independent

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