Logo Hunter continued his fine run of form when a conclusive winner of the Listed Sole Power Sprint Stakes at Naas for small-scale trainer Michael Browne.
A 5,000 guineas purchase for owner Patrick Moyles, the gelded son of Brazen Beau had finished in the frame on each of his four previous runs this term, previously winning the Cork Racecourse Handicap before being narrowly denied in the Committed Stakes at Navan – the latter performance being his trainer’s first ever runner in a Listed race.
This time the three-year-old was not going to be bettered and raced dominantly underneath Seamie Heffernan to triumph by four and a quarter lengths at odds of 11-2.
“I couldn’t describe the feeling – it’s unreal,” said Browne, who trains just five horses in Cashel, Tipperary.
“Seamie was adamant the whole time that he was a Group One sprinter and he’s right. I was doubtful with all the rain, but Seamie told me to run him.
“There is a race in Mallow in a bit over a fortnight’s time (the Listed Midsummer Sprint on June 9) that he’ll probably go for. I’d like to have run him in the Commonwealth Cup, but he can’t go there as he’s a gelding.
“That’s his trip, five furlongs, and he’ll be a lot better on better ground.
“He doesn’t need any work, just keep him fresh.
“Unfortunately he’ll probably be sold, but he’s given me some thrill up to now.”
The second Listed race on the card, the seven-furlong Owenstown Stud Stakes, went the way of Joseph O’Brien’s Snapraeterea and jockey Declan McDonogh.
The three-year-old made all and at one stage enjoyed a two-length lead, with runner-up Lustown Baba making a late challenge but ultimately finding O’Brien’s colt well able to hold on to a half-length victory.
Brendan Powell, assistant to O’Brien, said: “He really toughed it out there, he enjoys making the running and will stay a mile. He had a couple of runs and was fit and well.
“He settled there after a couple of furlongs and Declan has given him a brilliant ride.”
Andreas Vesalius led from the outset to take the five-furlong Coolmore Stud Calyx Race under Dylan Browne McMonagle, one of two winners for Joseph O’Brien.
The Caravaggio colt started at 11-4 and did not see any of his four rivals when taking the lead instantly and retaining it to cross the line a length and three-quarters ahead of 2-1 favourite Silver Surfer.
“Dylan has done the right thing as he’s sat in front and when he kicked, he had them at it behind,” said Powell.
“He said the further he went, the better he went.
“He’s a sweet horse, a lovely temperament and the most laid-back horse you will get.
“Dylan said he could go for a Listed race, he’s tough and will cope with most types of ground.
“That’s our first two-year-old winner and I think we have only run about three.”
Jessica Harrington’s Espouse was a 28-1 winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, laying down a late challenge to pass 5-1 shot Frill.
The three-year-old was making her second racecourse appearance after finishing seventh on debut at the same track last September, and was this time a three-quarter-length winner under Tom Madden.
“She was good over that trip and with the hood she gave me a great ride,” the jockey said.
“She was very professional and finished out the race well.
“Hopefully she is something to look forward to over a mile or a mile and a quarter.
“She was nearly a bit too relaxed with the hood on, it definitely helps her and the last furlong was her strongest part of the race.”
Pepperoni Pete then gave Harrington a double on the card in the Royal Ascot Trials At Naas Handicap at 12-1.
Surging up the centre of the track in the penultimate furlong, the five-year-old was able to pass 7-2 favourite Starting Monday to prevail by a length and three-quarters under Scott McCullagh.
Khartoum was a ready winner on his handicap debut when taking the one-mile Naas Handicap by two lengths for Aidan O’Brien.
The colt, who was a $1million purchase, was last seen finishing last of 10 in the Group Three Craven Stakes at Newmarket.
“He went to Newmarket and he was too fresh and did too much,” O’Brien said.
“He settled and quickened up well today, he won nicely.
“I always thought he wanted good ground, but he won his maiden on soft ground Ryan (Moore) said it is proper soft ground there today.”