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Voleuse shows Vintage class

PROMISING filly Voleuse De Coeurs looks a classy stayer in the making after getting back in the winning groove in the Coolmore Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan.

Dermot Weld's charge won the Irish Cesarewitch by 10 lengths from Missunited last season, and those two again fought out the finish in this Listed race over a mile and six furlongs.

Voleuse De Coeurs was disappointing behind El Salvador on her seasonal return at Limerick, but left the 5/4 favourite back in third on this occasion. Pat Smullen kept Voleuse De Coeurs up to her work and the 7/4 second favourite galloped on relentlessly for a two-length success.

"I see her as being very progressive and possibly an outstanding stayer. I thought she would win and this is a race I wanted to win. She was very good over staying distances last year. She is entered in the Ascot Gold Cup but that might be a bit soon for her," said Weld.

"She could go for the Curragh Cup and then the Irish St Leger, and she could be a Gold Cup horse next year."

Willie McCreery's Valbucca claimed her third consecutive handicap in the fillies' contest over 10 furlongs. Held up in the early stages by Shane Kelly, the 11/2 shot seemed to appreciate the fast pace and was taken to the outside in the straight to deliver her challenge.

Valbucca hit the front just inside the final furlong and held off the challenge of Opera Gloves to land the spoils.

Proceedings got under way with a six-furlong sprint maiden which went the way of second favourite True Verdict.

The experienced daughter of Danehill Dancer was placed a number of times last season – including finishing a close second to Sky Lantern – so this success was long overdue. There was little between her and favourite Wexford Opera on form, and David Wachman's inmate quickened up nicely under Wayne Lordan to beat the market leader by two-and-a-half lengths.

Aidan O'Brien and son Joseph completed a 100/30 double – initiated by the victory of Stubbs in the juvenile maiden. Having finished third on his Curragh debut, the Ballydoyle youngster was sent off 4/5 favourite and appreciating the better ground, O'Brien's mount stretching clear inside the final furlong to win by over four lengths.

O'Brien had to work a good deal harder in getting Plinth home by half a length from market rival Mourani in the 13-furlong maiden. Plinth took up the running approaching the final furlong but the 5/4 favourite was challenged all the way to the line by the John Oxx-trained Mourani, which had attempted to make all the running.

Oxx gained a measure of compensation as his well-supported Stepwise took the concluding Pour Moi EBF Maiden in the hands of Declan McDonogh. Punters couldn't get enough of the son of Azamour – backing him into 8/13 favourite – and that confidence proved well-placed as he stormed clear to beat Hue And Cry convincingly.

At Limerick, Michael Hourigan and Adrian Heskin combined for a short-priced double with Tropical Three in the mares' maiden hurdle and Whats Happening in the beginners' chase.

Irish Independent