Aidan O’Brien maintained his 100 per cent record with his first two juvenile runners as he sent out King Neptune to win the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at Dundalk.
Ridden by his son and champion Jockey Donnacha O’Brien, King Neptune (11-10), a son of War Front, quickened smartly in the closing stages to beat odds-on favourite Yesterdayoncemore by a comfortable three and a quarter lengths.
O’Brien junior said: “He was fairly straight forward and professional, not as green as I thought he would be. He bounced out and travelled, quickened up nicely and will be better with another furlong.
“The surface was fine on him. He’s a War Front and it felt good on him.
“It’s firm in places but you can go down five or six inches in other places.”
Almost at the other end of the scale, Lady Rosebud (9-2) notched up a fifth career and course win in the Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Apprentice Handicap as the Pat Martin-trained mare won by a nose win under jockey Gavin Ryan.
Following Lady Rosebud’s win, Martin said: “It’s been a while coming! I’ve tried to get this chap (jockey) for a while as I think he rides very well. It’s the first time I have been able to get him.
“She’s been threatening to win a race for a while having run some stinkers last year but she likes this time of the year and she loves it here. I thought he was very strong on her, and she seemed to battle for him.
“She will keep going on the grass. I don’t think the ground is that big a difference to her but she likes nice ground.”
The Dundalk Business Club Claiming Race provided an excellent result for connections of Kasbah, who justified 8-13 favouritism to win for trainer Ado McGuinness and jockey Colin Keane.
The son of Acclamation was registered a fifth career success and was subsequently claimed back by his connections following is two-and-a-quarter-lengths win over Hathiq.
McGuinness said: “He’s been a bit frustrating but he ran well in Navan the last day and is owned by the Dooley brothers and our yard sponsor Bart O’Sullivan. It’s our first winner for them.
“I know we had to drop him back to a claimer to win but he’s won plenty of money all winter, and if we don’t lose him he’ll probably go to the likes of Chester as the lads are local to there and it would suit them. He’s a fun horse.”
Trainer Michael Halford registered his second winner of the new campaign as his Godolphin-owned Pearlman (11-4) overturned 4-9 favourite Dunkirk Harbour to win the Avenue Inn Maiden under Ronan Whelan.
“I’d say he’s improving. Ronan gave him a lovely ride, kept it simple and got a lead, and we said we’d have one go at the favourite,” said Halford.
“Our lad stuck his head out and you’d like his attitude. He handles the surface. We’ll step him up now to handicaps and see how he goes.”