Noel Meade bagged his second Group Three victory at The Curragh in a matter of weeks on a day when both meetings in Ireland were dominated by members of the racing fraternity from the Royal County.
Following in the hoof prints of Elysium, the Castletown handler’s Helvic Dream took the International Stakes under Colin Keane by a comfortable 7.5 lengths. Elsewhere on the same card, the latter-named jockey partnered his first winner for Aidan O’Brien when Khartoum was a runaway victor in the opening maiden.
That was the only ‘first’ on the card however as Stamullen’s John McConnell registered his maiden success at Flat HQ when his A Case Of You was an ultra-impressive winner in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes. Naturally, the trainer will be keen to hold onto the Hot Streak colt, though it would be no surprise if big offers were to roll in.
In a final local link to proceedings at the Kildare venue, Lusstown Baba, owned by the Back Road Syndicate from Dunboyne, registered a third career success with consummate ease under Billy Lee. The grey filly clearly has a preference for a bit of cut in the ground and it’ll be interesting to see does former football powerhouse Willie McCreery will seek to go up in grade with the daughter of Dancing Duchess this season or hold off until her 4-year-old campaign.
While all that was going on, down in Limerick, Meath riders and trainers were again very much to the fore. As early as the first race, indeed, when Matt Smith’s Formal Order was a 40/1 winner of the first race but then, in some ways at least, when Meade’s Cask Mate defied nearly three years off the track when recording a comfortable comeback victory in a race where Tony Martin’s Double Jemmy showed good promise.
To complete a remarkable day’s achievement for the locality, Gordon Elliott got in on the act when his Aforementioned rattled home to great effect to land the first big Handicap of the jumps season – the Munster National – thus continuing the trainer’s remarkable record in these type of contest whilst at the same time giving talented young Kerry rider Gavin Brouder the biggest winner of his burgeoning career.