Thursday 22 February 2018

Solitaire shines in Weld double

True Solitaire on his way to victory at Galway
True Solitaire on his way to victory at Galway

Galway maestro Dermot Weld bagged his first winner of the Festival when True Solitaire skipped four and three-quarters of a length clear in the EBF Maiden.

The 6-4 second favourite jostled for the lead with Spader for a long way in the seven-furlong heat before Pat Smullen went for broke as the field straightened for home.

True Solitaire responded positively as the youngster galloped strongly across the line for a facile triumph, with 66-1 runner-up The Moore Factor never a factor.

Unicorn (11-8 favourite) was third, whereas Spader wilted out of contention inside the final 200 yards.

Weld said: "He's a good, tough colt.

"He ran an excellent race when he was second in Gowran and he's progressed from there.

"He's a progressive colt and handled the ground well.

"He knew his job and handled the track. You usually need a stakes horse to win any of these two-year-old races and he'll go on to Listed or Group level now.

"He has a lot of physical development to do and isn't yet the finished article, but will get a mile this year.

"The Group Three on Champion Stakes day (John Deere Juvenile Turf Stakes at Leopardstown on September 12) is a very suitable race for him next."

Harasava (9-4 favourite) then gave Weld and Smullen a double on the night when the Azamour filly outfought top-weight Torcedor inside the final few strides of the Colm Quinn BMW Handicap.

Weld said: "It was a battling performance and being able to hold the rail turning in was the winning of the race.

"The other horse would have wanted to get to the rail but Pat gave her (Harasava) a powerful ride and just held the second out at a vital stage.

"She'll got for another handicap now and could step up another two furlongs.

"My horses have all run well but the two year old (True Solitaire) was the one to take from today and he has a future."

Sheila Lavery had earlier struck gold with her first runner at the Festival as Romiac (16-1) did the job nicely in the Handicap.

Press Association

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