Wednesday 21 March 2018

Shade takes centre stage

Leafy Shade wins at the Curragh
Leafy Shade wins at the Curragh

Leafy Shade stuck on well to make a winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies' Maiden at the Curragh.

The daughter of New Approach was always in the firing line before being asked to go and win the race by Kevin Manning.

Leafy Shade (100-30) knuckled down and kept Camellia Japonica at bay to score by half a length for trainer Jim Bolger.

"Hopefully she's a filly with a future," said Bolger.

"We've a few others to sort out and we'll see how we get on at Leopardstown next Thursday (in the Silver Flash Stakes).

"We also have to see the filly that won in Tipperary (Mrs King). She's kind of been there with all of those.

"She would have no problem with another furlong or a mile."

Boylesports introduced Leafy Shade at 33-1 for the Qipco 1000 Guineas and Investec Oaks.

Manning completed a double in the colours of owner Jackie Bolger when steering home Leath Na Hoibre (2-1 favourite) for an appropriate victory in the Pat O'Donovan Irish Racing Excellence Nursery Handicap.

The gelding, trained by former Bolger employee Brendan Duke, was also handy from the start and ran out a cosy winner from Flirt.

The race was named after Pat O'Donovan, Bolger's assistant, who won the Irish Racing Excellence Award at the Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

Duke said: "Myself and Pat go back a long way and are really good friends so I was under a bit of pressure.

"I texted my mentor (Jim Bolger) his mark on Wednesday and he texted back 'will he win'. I replied 'yes Jim, you're safe'.

"He's a smashing little horse and has run into three high-class two-year-olds. The horse that won the maiden here yesterday (Shogun) was behind him when he was third last time.

"He's not ground dependent and handles anywhere from five to seven. He has loads of pace.

"I won this last year (with Intenser) and I've won three with his half-brother Focussed.

"This means an awful lot to me personally to win this race. Pat thoroughly merited the award and is one of the huge number of people behind the front-line who gets the front-line people to where they are."

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