THE third local fixture in a week saw the most important flat race of the season in the province, the listed Her Majesty’s Plate, being held at Down Royal on Friday, September 4. The race was won in facile fashion by ‘Master Of Reality’. The Joseph O’Brien trained winner, partnered by Wayne Lordan, cantered down gravel hill, such was his superiority and the two next best in the race ‘Barbados’ and ‘Rakan’, respectively second and third, never posed any threat to the winner.
The trainer was landing the prize of an above average renewal for the second successive year and the top class colt currently holds entries in the Irish St Leger and Melbourne Cup, having finished runner up in the latter last year, prior to being demoted to fourth for interference.
Assistant trainer, Brendan Powell said: “It was a lovely confidence booster for him more than anything. He ran well at the Curragh the last time and it is nice to get this. Being owned by Mr Williams, I would think he will be off to Australia now. We’ve got a few pencilled in (for the Melbourne Cup). He will be one of those and I think he will go into quarantine after this, I would have thought. I think that is the plan with him.”
The Noel Meade trained ‘Jerandme’ made most of the running to win the Ulster Cesarewitch. The very well supported favourite, ‘Walking On Glass’ (6s to 5/2), which raced in the rear, delivered his challenge, but was never on terms with the winner, while ‘Lusis Naturea’, trained by Paul Traynor at Dundrod having been a reserve, ran a fine race to fill third. The winner supplied a double for jockey, Colin Keane (also won on ‘A Case For You’), who under the revised regulations for elite sportsmen is now free to partner without quarantine ‘Siskin’ in the Group 1 Prix Du Moulin in France on Sunday.
Meade said: “It’s been a good race for us, I think that’s the fourth time I’ve won it. He’s very genuine, what you see is what you get. He never lets us down, no matter what we run him in. He does stay very well and maybe next year he might be a contender for that two and a half mile race at (Royal) Ascot. You’d have to think about the Irish Cesarewitch as well, it would be the next step.”
Meade added: “Colin Keane is without doubt one of the nicest young lads to have ever come into racing, not just as a jockey, but as a man. He said to me afterwards that he had a look at the last day he rode him, last night, and said ‘I should have held onto him a bit longer’ and today he was able to sit, and that just made the difference – he was able to pick up. It just shows you how good he is.”
The centre of the track appeared preferred by jockeys.
The Jack Davison trained, ‘Mooneista’, with Ronan Whelan aboard, claimed the opener for two-year-old fillies, which proved a very competitive contest with two rated 90 or above. The winner rated 91 flew home to deny ‘Perfect Match’.
Davison said: “She had shown me a lot of potential from the start, since I first began to train her, and with that in mind I really asked her a couple of questions with the company I ran her in early on in the season. She delivered and she got her black-type, and she ran third in the Ballyhane Stakes. I was anxious to break the maiden there, so it is nice to get that today. It looked a strong maiden on paper, but I still thought she was the one to beat and thankfully I was proven right.”
The John McConnell trained ‘A Case For You’, providing the first leg of a double for Colin Keane, challenged entering the straight and went clear, while the runner up, a debutante supported from 50s to 14/1, should be noted in future.
Keane said: “He didn’t have the best of the draws today, but he was very straightforward. He was still a little bit green when he got there and was running around a little bit, so you would imagine he will improve again. He handles that easy ground well. He’s a nice little horse now. I’d say he would handle it a bit quicker, as he is a good-moving horse, but he just probably excels on that ground. Nice to get a winning bracket for the lads.”
‘Verbal Fencing’ kept on best on the inside to deny ‘Barrettstown’ by a nose in a photo finish to the nursery, with the Jim Bolger trained winner partnered by Liam McAteer.
McAteer said: “She’s tough and she stays well. She probably hasn’t much speed, but stuck at it well to the line and, going further, she will be a better filly. She was very tough and when the boss has one like this, you always have a bit of confidence that you can win. Big thanks to Kevin (Manning), he told me I would win if I made the running.”
Trainer, Joseph O’Brien doubled up when ‘Baron Samedi’, with Dylan Browne McMonagle in the saddle, was a runaway winner of the 1 1/2 mile handicap relegating ‘Pikaia’ to second.
Brendan Powell said: “He is a fine horse, he has just learned all the way. A mile and a quarter the other day was probably a bit sharp for him, but he did it well at the end. Today, he’s on and off the bridle all the time, but he stayed the trip very well. He (Dylan Browne McMonagle) said he just gave him one flick and he picked up. He’s a horse with a future, whether he sticks to the flat or goes jumping.”
A trio fought out the finish to the finale with the Pat Fahy trained, ‘Der Mc’, partnered by Liam Roche, prevailing in the testing conditions over ‘Misty Millie’.
Roche said: “He loves that slow ground. They went a nice, good gallop the whole way and I dropped in and he settled very well today. He can be a bit keen, but he settled so well today. Two furlongs down, I got there and everything in front of me was beaten. Colin Keane (on ‘Misty Millie’) was the danger just in front of me.”