Prettiest takes the eye in Navan victory

Prettiest takes the eye in Navan victory
‘I’d say she’s a nice filly and she has a beautiful pedigree’.

Prettiest distinguished herself as a juvenile with obvious potential as she posted an emphatic, all-the-way victory on her debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at Navan.

Aidan O’Brien’s daughter of Dubawi, out of the yard’s dual Group One winner Alice Springs lived up to her exemplary pedigree to win by three-quarters of a length at 5-2 under Seamie Heffernan from favourite Lopes Gold.

The two market principals were to the fore throughout, with Prettiest establishing an early advantage from the outset and maintaining it with relative comfort.

Heffernan said: “Her homework suggested that she was ready to start,” said Heffernan.

“I was keen to canter down to the start in front as that’s the way I wanted to ride her, forward.

“I’d say she’s a nice filly and she has a beautiful pedigree.

“They won’t all improve and progress as you’d like but she’s built like a two-year-old so she should progress into being a nice two-year-old.”

Albion Square justified 9-4 favouritism, a second successive juvenile to lead throughout, as he took the Lynn Lodge Stud Irish EBF Maiden on his third career start for jockey Shane Foley and trainer Jessica Harrington.

The Acclamation colt – for whom connections may have Royal Ascot ambitions – was second to another winning Ballydoyle debutant, The Entertainer, over half a furlong further than this minimum trip at the same course two weeks ago.

After Albion Square’s breakthrough victory, Foley said: “He was good. I think he was beaten by a very smart horse the last day, although I know the winner was disappointing afterwards.

“We like this horse – we think he’s a very good horse. He was a bit lit up today, after having a couple of races, and I didn’t even hit him.

“He’s a nice horse going forward and could be a horse for the Windsor Castle.

“I walked the track beforehand and thought the best ground was middle to stands side. It’s yielding, dead ground, but that’s the best of it out there.”

Lord McZie surged late to spring a 66-1 shock in the GAIN The Advantage Series Handicap, providing 17-year-old jockey Conor Clarke with his first winner, from only his second ride on the Flat.

Ray Hackett’s four-year-old did not appear to be especially outrunning his odds until gathering late momentum to cut through the field and win by a head from Art Of Unity.

Tipperary teenager Clarke said: “That’s unbelievable – I can’t put it into words.

“I became apprentice to Ray about two months ago. This is only my second ride, and I’m delighted to get off the mark.

“My first ride was in Mallow on that lad as well, over a mile. He was probably a bit out of his depth then – but he ran well all the same, and we had high hopes coming here today.

“I thought I was gone with a few hundred yards to race but saw a bit of a gap again, and he pricked his ears and rallied well for me again.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d won it, because I saw a horse on my outside, but one of the lads said well done to me – and I was delighted.”

The John Joseph Murphy-trained Charterhouse (100-30) was not winning out of turn in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race, having faced three Group-race assignments since winning his maiden at the Curragh in August, including the National Stakes and Middle Park.

George Murphy, assistant to his father, disse: “I was pleased with that, he seemed to stay at it very well.

Robbie (Colgan) just said the ground felt slow and very sticky on him. He definitely didn’t enjoy it, but he got through it.

“We’ll have a talk with the owners and make a plan. I think he’s more than entitled to go back into stakes company.

“I’d say a mile and we’ll definitely stick to proper good ground now.”

Star Harbour broke his duck, at a seventh career attempt, in the feature Royal County Handicap.

Ado McGuinness’ son of Sea The Stars, in a first-time visor after being tried in blinkers on his most recent start, had never previously got closer than when edged out in a photo finish as an odds-on favourite at Dundalk in February.

Chris Hayes, riding Star Harbour for the first time, employed the front-running tactics which had worked for the winners of the first two races – and his partner showed great determination to fend off all challengers and prevail by three and a quarter lengths at 22-1, joint longest price in the nine-runner field.

McGuinness said: “We put blinkers on him last time, but he missed the break and got caught in behind.

“He put it to bed fairly quickly (desta vez). He’ll be nice for a mile-and-a-half handicap at Galway – or as regards closer plans, I was talking about the Ulster Derby.

“I think he will stay a mile-and-a-half, and I’d say that’s where he’ll go next.”

Venice Biennale completed a double for the Murphy yard, winning the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Fillies Maiden under Oisin Orr.

The daughter of Farhh made a promising debut when fourth at the Curragh just last weekend, and appears progressive after this four-and-quarter-length win from White Pepper.

She challenged in the final two furlongs, and then scooted clear.

Murphy said: “She was a little bit green in the Curragh the last day. She’s a filly we’ve always really liked.

“She’s a big lady and took a little bit of time to come to hand. We’ll probably look for a black-type race for her now – she’s a nice one to go forward with.”

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