Dank’s impressive display ensures a happy return to the Curragh for trainer Stoute
British raider takes Group Two feature in style
Trainer Michael Stoute will have been impressed with the display of Dank at the Curragh. Photograph: Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Dank may not have the most prepossessing of names but the British raider put up a hugely pleasing performance to land Sunday’s Group Two feature at the Curragh under Ryan Moore.
It was certainly a pleasant return to Irish racing’s HQ for Dank’s trainer Michael Stoute who hadn’t had a runner in Ireland in almost two years prior to the Kilboy Estate Stakes but now looks to have a potential Group One star on his hands.
There was a straight-forwardness to how Dank eased off the rails, grabbing the initiative early in the straight and establishing a decisive lead over Say, that suggests the top-flight will be next on her agenda.
Stoute’s partner Coral Pritchard-Gordon though couldn’t confirm that and said: “Whenever I ask Michael about what happens afterwards, he always says let’s get through this race first. He’s the same, even with a maiden. But Ryan was thrilled with her, and said she’s still improving.”
Owner James Wigan did however mention Leopardstown’s Matron Stakes, and Arlington Park’s Beverly D Stakes, as possible targets for a filly who was third at Royal Ascot to David Wachman’s Duntle, a horse with her own Group One target this Sunday in Deauville’s Prix Rotschild.
Dank was an appropriate winner for Stoute on a classic weekend that he has dominated in the past, with six Irish Oaks victories being a trainer’s record in the race.
Dublin-born Declan Carroll relished today’s return to the course where he used to train when Whozthecat landed the €100,000 Rockingham Handicap.
Now based outside Malton in Yorkshire, Carroll deliberately preserved apprentice jockey Luke Leadbitter’s 10lb claim for the race and it proved invaluable as Whozthecat just held off Nafa and the favourite Yulong Baoju.
“He rode a winner two weeks ago and could have had a couple more afterwards but I stopped him from riding to keep his claim. It’s a big advantage when you’ve got that kind of talent, especially coming here,” said Carroll whose previous biggest win had come in York’s Silver Cup. “It means a lot, coming back here to win a race like this.”
Aidan O’Brien’s second-string for the fillies maiden, Tapestry, got quotes of as low as 14-1 for next year’s 1,000 Guineas after making a winning debut under Séamus Heffernan.
“She’s a full sister to a horse we thought was our best last year (Theatre) but who got injured and died after winning his maiden,” the champion trainer said. O’Brien indicated afterwards his Irish Oaks runner-up Venus De Milo could reappear next in Cork’s Nassau Stakes .
Fly To The Moon stepped up from three ordinary efforts to edge out the favourite The Organ Grinder by a neck in the Nursery but the latter’s jockey Chris Hayes got his own back on Wayne Lordan in the concluding maiden with Coquette Noire.