THE classic hopeful Juncture was the star turn of the night as she outclassed her opponents the Listed Patton Stakes to fuel thoughts of a 1000 Guineas bid in a couple of months’ time.

Off the track since taking second in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes in July, the 98-rated Juddmonte-owned daughter of Dark Angel was operating on a different level to her rivals. When Colin Keane came to the outside off the last bend he looked to have any amount of horse underneath him and the closing stages of this one-mile affair bore out that view.

The Ger Lyons-trained Juncture (10/11) swept to the front with well over a furlong to run and quickened up in fine style to dish out a six-length beating to the 84-rated Morning Soldier.

“This filly was Ger’s pick last year and was going to be our Moyglare filly but didn’t get there. She has been back in early and has been working well and this was the perfect starting point for her. She’ll go for a Guineas Trial now ,” stated the trainer’s brother Shane.

Apprentice Jack Kearney continued a great run aboard the Mark Fahey-trained Mr Trinket (11/1) in the three-year-old mile handicap where the he was making it three winners from his last six rides.

On his first outing since November and on his handicap debut, the Colm Griffin-owned son of Australia was fitted with cheekpieces and turned in a nice effort. He got into the reckoning inside the last quarter of a mile and finished out his race with purpose to defeat Dubirango by a length and a half.

The winner carries the colours of Colm Griffin who has previously raced the likes of the Lowther Stakes winner Miss Amulet.

This was Kearney’s second winner for Fahey.

Dartan and Giuseppe get off the mark in Ireland

DARTAN (11/2) looked as though he could be a staying handicapper to stay on the right side of this year as he turned the amateur rider’s two-mile handicap into a decidedly one-sided affair.

Matthew Smith’s charge, whose sole previous success on the flat came in Germany a couple of years ago, was unplaced over a shorter trip on his first Polytrack venture a month previously. It was all change here though as the patiently ridden son of Reliable Man cruised to the front for Derek O’Connor around a quarter of a mile out. At the line he was a comfortable one-and-three-quarter-length winner over Top Line Tommy.

“I don’t think he liked the bit we used here last time as he acted out of character and didn’t put it all in. I felt if he ran to how he worked he’d be thereabouts,” declared Smith who trains the winner for Killian McDonnell. “He could be a horse for a nice staying handicap during the summer and we’ve the option of hurdles as well.”

Another overseas import to get off the mark in Ireland was Ger O’Leary’s Giuseppe Cassioli in quite a competitive looking seven-furlong handicap.

Third success

A 17,000gns purchase at the Tattersalls February Sale, the 77-rated performer notched up the third success of his career after being produced with a sustained charge on the outer by Billy Lee. He moved on deep inside the last furlong to defeat Acquiescent by half a length. This five-year-old entire could easily add to his haul when his attentions are turned to turf.

The O’Leary-trained Cursory Exam launched a strong challenge for victory in the 45-75 rated mile-and-a-half-handicap and held the lead entering the last furlong. However, in the closing stages he was upstaged by the Padraig Roche-trained and Kevin Manning-ridden 28/1 chance The Virginian who was making his first appearance since contesting a Down Royal handicap hurdle in August.

The lightly raced Oghill House Stud-owned six-year-old was fitted with a first-time tongue-tie and clearly retains the ability that carried him into third in a Naas maiden in August 2019.

Impressive Warhol win delights owner-breeders

THERE was a very taking effort on show from the newcomer Dandy Warhol in the six-furlong maiden.

The Barry Fitzgerald-trained son of Dandy Man had to contend with an outside draw and some experienced opponents. However, the three-year-old was backed from as big as 50/1 in the morning into 11/1 and produced a lovely display under Luke McAteer.

The Michael Foley-owned gelding raced close to the pace and after striking the front with well over a furlong to run, he went the line in fine style to finish just under five lengths ahead of National Generaux.

“He’s a good horse. He’s shown plenty at home and we came here confident he’d run well. He got a super ride from Luke and it’s fantastic for Michael and Ruth who own him and bred him,” stated Fitzgerald. “Tonight was the plan and he wants good ground. If he’s not sold I’d say we could be looking at a listed or Group 3 race with him.”


The other three-year-old maiden, over an extended 10 furlongs, went to Joseph O’Brien as The Grey Wizard won well to justify his position as a very strongly supported evens favourite to progress on an unplaced debut at Navan last October.

This strapping son of Caravaggio was kept close to the pace by Shane Crosse and he led over a furlong from home en route to a clear-cut length-and-a-half triumph over Haroya. The winner looks like one that should progress further from here.

After winning the last two races at Clonmel the previous day Denis Hogan bagged the opener here as Rocky Dreams justified 7/4 favouritism in the six-furlong claimer.

A three-time course-and-distance winner, the Varland Syndicate-owned five-year-old moved to the head of the field early in the straight for Daniel King and it was soon apparent that he had this race in safe keeping.

Rocky Dreams crossed the line three and a half lengths clear of the front-running Fastman.

The winning trainer claimed the sixth-placed Cedar Rapids a week after James McAuley claimed the horse for €12,000 from Hogan’s yard.