Heavens a cut above the rest
Racing:Great Heavens showed a tremendous turn of foot to win the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh. The winner looked beaten two furlongs out as Shirocco Star and Was became involved in a barging match at the head of affairs.
Although Shirocco Star eventually saw off the Epsom Oaks heroine Was, jockey William Buick was just getting into overdrive on the eventual winner. Once in the clear, Great Heavens picked up in tremendous style to continue her rapid improvement this season — and maintain trainer John Gosden’s golden summer.
The Dermot Weld-trained Ribblesdale winner Princess Highway could not quicken up in the testing ground.
Great Heavens, sent off the heavily-backed 5-4 favourite, is a full sister to Saturday’s King George runner-up Nathaniel. Both horses are owned by Lady Rothschild. Great Heavens also became Gosden and Buick’s second Group One winner in Ireland this season after Izzi Top struck in the Pretty Polly Stakes.
Shirocco Star turned the tables on Epsom conqueror Was and Ascot foe Princess Highway, but a stewards’ enquiry was called due to interference inside the final two furlong, but the placings remained unaltered. Princess Highway crossed the line in third, with Was back in fourth.
Dibayani had earlier confirmed the favourable impression he had made on his debut when winning the Darley EBF Maiden. The seven-furlong contest has launched the careers of the likes of Teofilo, New Approach and Sea The Stars, but Dibayani had the benefit of a good run behind the highly-regarded The United States.
Johnny Murtagh asked Mick Halford’s juvenile to quicken between the two Ballydoyle runners Quadriga and Hall Of Mirrors a furlong down and the race looked won. Orgilgo Bay (33-1 )then emerged as a threat and the 8-13 favourite had to work all the way to the line.
Wayne Lordan conjured a great late run out of Tannery to collar 11-10 favourite Caponata in the Kilboy Estate Stakes. The race appeared at the mercy of Caponata, who went two lengths clear with a furlong to run.
However, the heavy ground began to take its toll on Dermot Weld’s previously unbeaten filly and Lordan sensed his chance. David Wachman’s Dylan Thomas filly had won over 11 furlongs last time out and her stamina came to the fore as the 5-1 shot won going away.
Grafelli, who finished behind Dibayani on his debut, secured a second win on the bounce in the Jebel Ali Stables & Racecourse Anglesey Stakes. The race lost some of its lustre when the likely hot favourite Cristoforo Colombo was taken out on account of the ground, but it meant the Group Three contest had an open look to it.
Jim Bolger’s Grafelli (9-4) handled the conditions best of all, though, ploughing through the mud to beat the Andrew Oliver-trained Hard Yards. In the absence of Cristoforo Colombo, jockey Joseph O’Brien switched to Count Of Limonade, who was sent off the 7-4 favourite, but he was eventually well beaten.