Saturday 13th June
By Daragh Ó Conchúir
The absence of crowds might have been unusual but it was a very familiar scene at the finish line as Peaceful (3/1) strode clear in splendid isolation to garner the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas.
It was a ninth victory for trainer Aidan O’Brien and a fourth for jockey Seamie Heffernan, the highlight of a stunning four-timer that also included the card’s two other pattern contests.
Meanwhile, the victory in the colours of the Coolmore partners brought up a world record 85th Group One for super sire Galileo, eclipsing the mark previously held by Danehill.
There was disappointment though for the in-form Jessica Harrington-Shane Foley combination as Albigna, who went off the 6/5 favourite, failed to fire and ended up sixth.
Another Harrington representative, Valeria Messalina made the early running but with Heffernan confident about his partner’s stamina, he was in the leader’s slipstream throughout.
Having initially appeared a little keen, Albigna settled and was in a good position just one off the rail in fifth.
Foley was sending out distress signals three furlongs from home however and Albigna’s trademark turn of foot failed to materialise.
In the meantime, the bird had flown as Heffernan gave Peaceful the office and she accelerated clear without having to be over-exerted.
It was a stunning performance from a filly having just her fourth race and an illustration once again of the depth of Irish racing that she would claim Classic success having won her maiden at the unusual Flat setting of Thurles.
“I’m delighted” said O’Brien. “She’s very uncomplicated, handles fast ground. Seamus has been delighted with her all the time. He rides her in all her work. Everything has gone very smooth with her.
“She will get further than a mile so a mile here on beautiful ground really suited her. It was a great ride, he was very confident she would get the trip well.
“She could come back here to the Irish Oaks, she could go to the Coronation on Saturday. All the options are there. We’ll see how she comes out on Monday. She’s a lovely filly.
“We’re so lucky that this is all happening here in Ireland, that John (Magnier) decided to base his family and everybody here. We’re so lucky with the stallions here, and the broodmare band here.
“It’s a massive industry, a lot of people employed and a lot of people that it puts bread on the table for us all.
“We’re just privileged to be a small part of it and be able to work with these horses.”
The winning trainer’s son Donnacha is in the early months of his career having retired from the saddle as champion and he would have been delighted by the staying-on effort of Fancy Blue to take second, in what was a brilliant Oaks trial for her.
O’Brien got on the board when recording a 1-2 in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden for three-year-olds, Snow (5/1) only needing hands-and-heels encouragement from Heffernan to overcome the challenge of fellow Galileo offspring Salsa.
Next up was Lancaster House (6/4), who saw off Speak In Colours to garner the Group 3 Coolmore Calyx Gladness Stakes for four-year-olds very easily.
And the Ballydoyle duo rounded the fixture off when landing the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes for older fillies with the globe-trotting Magic Wand (4/5).
There was some consolation for Harrington and Foley, who unleashed smart newcomer, Dickiedooda (5/2f) in the Tally-Ho Stud Irish EBF Fillies Maiden for juvenile fillies. It may be telling that this was the race that announced Albigna to the public 12 months ago and Dickiedooda was very professional, breaking smartly to lead all the way and prevail with plenty in hand.
Elsewhere, the valuable Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ragusa Handicap provided a thrilling finish, with the lead changing three times inside the last furlong, five-pound claimer Gavin Ryan eliciting a last desperate thrust from Edification (14/1) to nail Tartlette by a neck and give Monasterevin handler Mark Fahey his first premier handicap.
The opening EquiNectar Handicap over two miles went to Gavin Cromwell and the Get Round The Back Syndicate, whose Mutadaffeq (16/1) responded to a power-packed drive from Wayne Lordan to deny Jerandme by a nose in a head-bobber.
The Kieran Cotter-trained top weight Strong Johnson (7/2f) justified market support to bag the Platinum Bloodstock & Eyrefield Handicap under the 2000 Guineas-winning jockey, Colin Keane.