Ramone romps home to shock win over Weld and O’Brien horses

Outsider at 100/1 in Park Express Stakes represents first Group victory for Bill Farrell

Bill Farrell’s Ramone ridden by Shane Foley (second right) on the way to winning the  Park Express Stakes at the Curragh. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Bill Farrell’s Ramone ridden by Shane Foley (second right) on the way to winning the Park Express Stakes at the Curragh. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Bill Farrell isn’t going to retire after claiming a first Group success but a few punters might be considering it on the back of Ramone’s shock 100/1 victory on the opening day of the 2015 turf flat season at the Curragh.

The complete outsider made her 13th career start a lucky one in the Group 3 Park Express Stakes, proving two lengths too good for Dermot Weld’s topweight Afternoon Sunlight with Aidan O’Brien’s classic entry Easter only fifth, and leaving her locally based trainer to happily re-jig career plans.

“I’ve only six in training and that’s my first Group-race winner,” Farrell said. “I always said if I got black type I might retire - but no. And no, I didn’t back her!”

Rare

It is a dozen years since the less exalted After The Ball won a maiden hurdle at Kilbeggan at 100/1 but racing historians point to Miss Therese’s Blandford Stakes surprising success in 1973 as the last high-profile 100/1 winner of a Curragh Group race.

Farrell’s own profile hardly compares to the flat game’s powerhouse outfits but if similarly testing ground conditions prevail, then Ramone may not be allowed much time to settle on her new black type laurels.

Critical

“We decided against running her off a mark of 92, and giving chunks of weight away. So we prepped her for this. We never thought about winning but I felt she’d run well. I’ve always had faith in her,” Farrell said.

Ground conditions at HQ were also ideal for Onenightidreamed, the most inexperienced runner in the Lincoln, who eventually overhauled Aussie Valentine after the latter briefly looked to have got away under the stands rail.

It was a fourth Lincoln win for Tommy Stack whose son and assistant Fozzy Stack said: “We’ve been thinking of this in October when we didn’t run at Leopardstown because he might have picked up a penalty. The ground will dictate what we do next.”

The opening race of the season saw State of Emergency overcome trouble in running in the two-year-old maiden, although jockey Emmet McNamara picked up a one-day ban for his troubles.

Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen continued their winning form from 2014 with a double completed by Ashraf in the mile maiden.

“He handles that ground well and will go next for the Ballysax,” Weld said.

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