True Valour justifies favouritism at Leopardstown
Johnny Murtagh’s four-year-old enjoys smooth success in the Ballycorus Stakes
True Valour took the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
True Valour justified favouritism with a smooth success in the Group Three Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown.
Johnny Murtagh’s four-year-old had run well last time out at Epsom when third to Century Dream, who has subsequently been supplemented for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Sent off the 7-4 favourite, his task was made easier when St Patrick’s Day, a brother to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and due to make his debut for Aidan O’Brien, was withdrawn after getting restless in the stalls.
As a result Chris Hayes always had the leading duo of Fas and Medicine Jack in his sights and he never looked in any bother.
True Valour quickened clear impressively and was kept up to his work to beat Smash Williams by two and a quarter lengths with Ardhoomey third.
“I’m so delighted he’s won a Group Three because we’ve always thought he was a group horse and he thrived over the winter,” said Murtagh.
“The big day is back here on Champions Weekend. Sheikh Fahad (owner) is a big supporter of the day so he’ll come back here for the Boomerang in the long-term.
“We’ll keep him going because he thrives on racing. He’s done nothing but improve since he came back from England.
“It was similar last year when he ran at Ascot and came back and won at the Curragh.
“We’ll keep him going in those Group Threes and Group Twos but the big day is Qipco Irish Champions Weekend for him.
“We put the blinkers on him because the last day he ran a little bit lazily although maybe Epsom didn’t suit him. He likes Leopardstown.
“That’s the first ride Chris has had for me. Five years he’s been annoying me for rides and then I give him my best horse!”