Weld bags fourth Cesarewitch as Voleuse stars under Roche
Voleuse De Coeurs turned what was meant to be one of the most competitive handicaps of the year into a veritable procession to give Dermot Weld his fourth win in the Hacketts Bookmakers Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh.
A relatively easy-to-back 6/1 favourite, the three-year-old daughter of Teofilo had hosed up on her previous start at the Galway Festival when stepped up to two miles.
The handicapper weighed in with a 15lb penalty for that but, with Domination, the runner-up that day, since winning in style at Newmarket, there was every chance that such a hike would prove justified for such an unexposed and progressive horse.
Over the same marathon distance in even more testing going here, Weld chose to make use of Leigh Roche's valuable 3lb claim on the Lady O'Reilly-owned filly.
Truth be told, Voleuse De Coeurs looked as though she would have won with another stone on her back, as she ploughed home by 10 lengths to deny the in-form Missunited, with Lough Ferrib back in third and Tantalising fourth.
"We thought she'd win," said the trainer's son Kris, whose father was in Canada to watch Princess Highway in action at Woodbine. "It was real winter ground but she has handled it admirably well. She will stay in training next year."
There was an upset in the Mick Ramsey Waterford Testimonial Stakes when Katla asserted close to home under Seamie Heffernan to deny the odds-on favourite Maarek.
Returned at odds of 16/1, Katla is owned, trained and bred by Cashel dairy farmer John Grogan, and victory here, her first in over a year, meant that she has now won Listed races at two, three and four.
In the preceding Staffordstown Stud Listed race, Seolan (13/2) made it two wins from two starts under Chris Hayes. Having made a deeply impressive debut for Paul Deegan at Listowel, the Alhaarth two-year-old switched to Deegan's fellow Curragh trainer Patrick Prendergast on being bought by Richard Barnes.
"A lot of credit for this has to go to Paul Deegan," Prendergast conceded. "I hadn't looked beyond today as we just wanted to get black type with her."
Deegan gained compensation when Midnight Soprano edged out Minsk in the Finale Stakes to win for a fifth time this year and help Hayes to a 48/1 double on the day.
Joseph O'Brien stretched his lead over Pat Smullen at the head of the jockeys' championship to five when his father Aidan's Magician, the only non-female winner on the card, readily justified odds-on favouritism in the opening juvenile maiden.
Geroid Brouder, a native of Listowel, made his first ride a memorable one by taking the apprentices' handicap on Christy Roche's Madeira Girl (9/1).