Aidan O’Brien’s Cliffs Of Moher back to winning ways at Naas
Mrs Gallagher gives Josephine Gordan first win in Ireland, injury setback for Enable
Cliffs of Moher returned to winning ways at Naas. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Last year’s Investec Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher (13-8) rediscovered the winning trail in the Coolmore Camelot Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge won the Dee Stakes at Chester a year ago, before finding only stablemate Wings Of Eagles too strong in the premier Classic at Epsom the following month.
Cliffs Of Moher went on to finish fourth in both the Coral-Eclipse and the Juddmonte International, while he finished out of the places in the Irish Champion Stakes, the Champion Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
He was last of five on his return to action in last month’s Alleged Stakes over this course and distance but having blown away the cobwebs, he was the 13-8 favourite for this 10-furlong Group Two.
With another Ballydoyle inmate in Yucatan and Ken Condon’s stable stalwart Success Days slugging it out in front, Ryan Moore played his cards late aboard Cliffs Of Moher, swooping in the last 100 yards to get up and score by a length and three-quarters.
Success Days ran a fine race to finish second, just over three weeks after finishing last of 10 runners behind the mighty mare Winx in Australia.
O’Brien said: “He relaxed lovely and came home well.
“He has an option of either the Coronation Cup (Epsom) or the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Curragh).
“He’s a good horse and was just beaten in an Epsom Derby.”
Meanwhile Dermot Weld is eyeing a tilt at the Irish 2,000 Guineas with Imaging after he threaded the eye of a needle to get up and land the Coolmore Zoffany Irish EBF Tetrarch Stakes.
An impressive winner on his seasonal reappearance at Cork in March, the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt was last seen chasing home Gustav Klimt in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial.
Weld’s charge was the 2-1 favourite for this seven-furlong Listed contest under Declan McDonogh and quickened well once the gap came to claim victory by three-quarters of a length from Would Be King.
Weld said: “What impressed me was the way he quickened through the gap when it eventually came. For a few strides it looked like he was going to be an unlucky loser.
“I thought it was a very good performance on ground we think might be faster than ideal for him
“I had toyed with the idea of going to the French Guineas, but obviously we will wait and go to the Curragh (for the Irish Guineas), which is the logical progression for him.
“I think it was a good, competitive renewal of the Tetrarch and he’s an improving colt. When he won his maiden last year by nine and a half lengths I said that he’d make into a Group horse and he is.
“A mile or a mile and a quarter should suit him well.”
Earlier Josephine Gordon was thrilled to ride her first winner in Ireland after British challenger Mrs Gallagher (7-1) claimed top honours in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Polonia Stakes.
The William Jarvis-trained filly made a successful start to the campaign when landing a Listed prize at Bath last month and the form has been well advertised since with the runner-up, Mabs Cross, winning the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
Mrs Gallagher was a 7-1 shot for this five-and-a-half-furlong Listed contest and powered home for a decisive one-and-a-quarter-length success over Golden Spell.
Last year’s Albany Stakes heroine Different League, making her second start since joining Aidan O’Brien, was a shade disappointing in fourth place.
Gordon said: “That’s my first winner in Ireland and it’s a good one to get.
“She’s a rapid filly — she’s probably one of the quickest fillies I’ve ever sat on.”
Mrs Gallagher looks set for a sharp rise in class in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of Fairyland (7-2) and Van Beethoven (1-2) are pencilled in for Royal Ascot after claiming the first two races of the afternoon in the hands of Ryan Moore.
Fairyland was a 7-2 chance for her racecourse debut in the Coolmore No Nay Never Irish EBF Fillies Maiden and there was a lot to like about the way she quickened clear late on.
Van Beethoven was the 1-2 favourite for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race after finishing third on his introduction three weeks ago and made every yard of the running on his way to a comprehensive success.
O’Brien said: “I was delighted with the filly (Fairyland). She is a an Ascot-type filly, but just needs experience.
“He (Van Beethoven) is still very green, but I’m delighted and he won well in the end.
“He will have learnt a bit there and we’ll try and get another run into him before Royal Ascot. He’s a fast horse.”
Meanwhile Enable will be out of action until August at the earliest after suffering a setback, connections have anounced.
John Gosden’s brilliant filly enjoyed a fantastic campaign in 2017, winning six of her seven starts including five consecutive Group One triumphs.
She has not been seen on a racecourse since claiming Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe glory at Chantilly last October, but had been pencilled in to make her reappearance in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on June 1st.
However, she will now miss the first part of the season through injury.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said in a statement: “Enable has met with a setback in training. She has some filling in her knee which is being fully investigated.”