Kinane doubly happy to survive stewards' inquiry

 

Racing Leopardstown report: Michael Kinane completed a Leopardstown double on King Hesperus in last night's Rochestown Stakes but his heart must have skipped a beat at the subsequent announcement of "stewards' inquiry". Any sort of suspension would have resulted in the champion jockey missing out on some of next week's Royal Ascot festival.

With the likes of Hawk Wing (Queen Anne Stakes), France (St James's Palace Stakes) and Statue Of Liberty (Jersey Stakes) waiting, next week is potentially huge for Kinane.

However, the enquiry into possible interference between King Hesperus and the runner-up Jemmy's Brother at the furlong pole came to nothing and Kinane could breath a sigh of relief.

So could the winner's trainer, Aidan O'Brien, who had seen King Hesperus "win" on his Gowran debut only to be disqualified. In contrast, Kinane's opening winner was much more straightforward as the evens favourite, Maroochydore, made most on her debut.

"She's pretty smart at home but was very green in front. She didn't know quite what to do," said trainer David Wachman.

Kinane tried to do something similar in the Group Three Ballycorus Stakes on Great Pyramid but the Guineas fifth was done with early in the straight.

Instead it was the outsider of the field Abunawwas who swept from the rear to dash a length and a half clear of One More Round in the final furlong. The smart sprinter Miss Emma faded to third.

"That's his trip and that's the way to ride him. He can't race on the pace because he kills himself trying. He has plenty of class and will get better," said trainer Kevin Prendergast, who had earlier saddled the Rochestown favourite Wathab (third) "Wathab missed the break. You can't do that around here. He ran good to get as close as he did. I'll run him in the Railway Stakes next," he added.

The Prendergast yard wasn't finished there as Definate Spectacle easily landed the seven furlong handicap by a couple of lengths from Fearn Royal.

Prendergast's Curragh neighbour Jim Gorman has solidly built up a head of steam this season and saddled his sixth winner of the term with Bought Direct in the apprentice handicap.

However, Gorman was made to sweat in the closing strides as jockey Jerry O'Dwyer appeared to ease up and the veteran Royal South powered to the line.

There was just a neck in it at the line and Gorman smiled with relief: "It was a little too close for comfort!"

Eckbeag, owned by John Clare, husband of RTÉ's Marian Finucane, was a much more clearcut three-length winner of the mile-and-a-half handicap, powering clear of Ballina Belle inside the final furlong.

However, Eckbeag's odds-on stable companion Golovin had to give best in the amateur race to Windsor Boy.