THE Joseph O’Brien trained ‘Master Of Reality’, under a masterclass ride from Declan McDonogh, landed the only listed race run at Down Royal last Friday, July 23, when recording back to back victories in Her Majesty’s Plate. The son of the great ‘Frankel’ was soon in front and galloped strongly throughout to register a facile victory and will again target the Melbourne Cup.
Assistant trainer Brendan Powell said: “He has got his head in front again and he has done it nicely. Declan (McDonogh) said he was hating that ground and it was probably just a bit quick for him, but he said his ability probably got it. No, he’s not a horse to give a soft lead to, because you know he will just keep going. In terms of the Melbourne Cup – it is still on the cards, but they have to pass so many tests now before they go, so we’ll have to see.”
Blackwater based trainer, James Lambe yet again flew the flag for local trainers, when ‘Ever Rock’ (6s to 4/1) collected the sprint race in very snug fashion. The trainer was also on the scoreboard at the recent Derby meeting with ‘Brave Display’ – like yesterday’s winner, owned by Armagh’s Richie Behan.
The winner was scoring for the first time since 2019 when trained by Ulsterman Stan Moore in Britain and was delivered wide by top jockey, Declan McDonogh.
Lambe said: “It is fantastic for the owner – Richard (Behan) is a great supporter. He puts a lot of money into the game. She has been very frustrating and she just maybe has come right. She has been disappointing on the whole, but it is great to win for Richard. It is great to get it at my local track. We’ll take small steps again with her and hopefully we can get her in again.”
It was a day for the girls and Sorcha Woods was seen to excellent advantage aboard ‘New Society’ (8s to 4/1) to supply the second locally trained winner on the night. The winner, trained at Armagh by Keith Watson, was very game close to home to hold ‘Strip Light’ in another photo finish in the Apprentice handicap.
Assistant trainer Marshall Watson said: “I worked him on Tuesday at the Curragh and I was pretty confident that he would win. I phoned the boys and I think they took the 7/1 this morning. Job done!
“He will go for a three mile handicap hurdle on Thursday at Galway and I’m pretty confident he is better than that over hurdles. A step up to those marathon trips will be in his favour. If he doesn’t get in there, he will go on the Sunday for a 0-75 over two miles on the flat.”
Ballyclare teenager, Sam Ewing claimed the opener on ‘Head Mistress’ (7s to 7/2) for his boss Ger Lyons. The winner, making her debut, was switched to the outside when fourth then flew home to overhaul the leaders, while odds-on favourite ‘Harmony Rose’ had every chance filling fourth.
Ewing said: “The inside horse kind of ran off the bend, so we had to sit and take our time. When she got herself organised and straightened up, she was very game and quickened well.”
The well-bred ‘Glengara’, trained by Paddy Twomey, opened his account in the EBF maiden when making all with Billy Lee in the saddle. The 130,000 yearling purchase, despite the lack of market support, gave a resolute performance and held the strongly supported ‘Ultramarine’ by a nose in a photo finish. The sire of the winner, ‘Profitable’, was recording a double being also responsible for the winner of the first race.
Twomey said: “He will be better with time, but he is taking racing very well. I felt if we didn’t give him the entry in the Futurity, we might be sorry. We’ll see how we get on and we’ll see what the handicapper does.”
The veteran nine-year-old ‘Geological’, trained by Damien English with apprentice Nikita Kane aboard, claimed the seven furlong handicap in game fashion to record his 15th career victory, having won in the past six seasons from 127 starts. Full marks to the winning rider, who led at the elbow and held the persistent challenge of runner up ‘Sh Boom’.
English said: “The horses have been so out of form since October last year and we had to be patient. Bad hay and we couldn’t get them right. I’ve just been concentrating on getting them healthy again. He cost £800 and has won over a quarter of a million.”
The Ado McGuinness trained ‘Bader Ginsburg’, with Cian McRedmond aboard, opened his account in the finale, challenging between horses while the locally trained favourite ‘Lily Of The Glen’ never travelled and was under pressure downhill but stayed on late to finish fourth.
McGuinness said: “Cian was very cool on her, because they went very fast and he was a long ways off them starting off, but he didn’t panic. He got a lovely split down the inner. We might even enter her up next week at Galway.”