Ireland’s leading trainer Aidan O’Brien sent a couple of beautifully-bred colts to Dundalk on Friday night and both of them won.
First it was Vermilion Cliffs, a well-backed favourite for the first division of the Follow Us On Instagram @dundalk_stadium maiden. The winner, who was always just holding the persistent challenge of runner-up Bluebeard’s Castle (who is trained by Aidan’s son Joseph), is a son of champion sire Galileo out of the 2010 Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye winner Gilt Edge Girl.
Completing the double was Party Season, who cost $1million as a yearling and is a son of 2015 American Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, and a half-brother to an American Grade 2 and 3 winner. Both horses look to have bright futures; they were ridden to victory by Seamie Heffernan.
Vermilion Cliffs is owned by Flaxman Stables, Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, while Party Season races in the colours of Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, all key people in the internationally-powerful Coolmore breeding operation. Both horses have been entered in the imminent Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale.
Colin Keane began and ended the evening seven winners ahead of Shane Foley in the Irish Flat Jockeys’ Championship as both riders registered one success apiece on the card.
After finishing second on the Ger Lyons’ pair Lilandra, in the HOLLYWOODBETS Fillies & Mares Claiming Race, and Anjalawi, in the Bodhrán Bar, Thank You To The Health Workers Nursery Handicap, Colin came good on Ado McGuinness’s Pillar in the Irishinjuredjockeysfund.com Handicap in what proved to be a thrilling race, with just half-a-length separating the first four horses home.
The winning trainer was quick to express his admiration for the winning jockey and his delight for owner Sean Gallagher “who is a loyal supporter of mine”.
Lilandra’s conqueror was Crystal Dawn. Owned by the Swans High Stool Syndicate, trained by Gavin Cromwell and ridden by Sam Ewing, the winner was following up a success at Dundalk just seven days earlier so clearly remains in good heart.
Sam went on to complete a double when Moving Forward landed the card’s finale, the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk Handicap on what was his first run for trainer Shane Duffy. The winner was acquired for €12,000 for owner John Keogh following a good second to Gee Rex in a claimer at Dundalk seven days earlier. That’s what you call a flying start.
Anjalawi was beaten by 25/1-chance Amazing Emma, who was ridden by Danny Sheehy and was jointly-bred by the owner John McAteer and Navan-based trainer Liam McAteer.
Shane Foley’s win came on the Jessica Harrington-trained newcomer Soaring Sky in the Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden. The daughter of the 2015 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner Free Eagle is owned by hugely successful Chinese businessman Zhang Yuesheng, who has formed such a potent partnership with Jessica, and is a half-sister to Plus Ca Change, who was trained by Ger Lyons when she won a maiden at Dundalk in 2014.
Another recent Dundalk winner, Scherzando, also followed up tonight when landing the Story Of Dundalk Stadium Book Available Online Apprentice Handicap for trainer Denis Hogan and jockey Paddy Harnett.
The currently-suspended Joey Sheridan was on board when the gelding, who is owned by the Galway Girl Syndicate and Damian Lavelle, won the first division of the Michael Cooney Memorial Handicap at Dundalk on October 2nd.
A very busy period approaches for Dundalk, who will race again on Wednesday October 28th and Friday October 30th and then stage a bumper eleven meetings in November, starting on Wednesday November 4th.