Katiyra kicks off for Kinane and Oxx
REPORT: CURRAGH, Saturday
IT promises to be a big weekend for John Oxx, Michael Kinane and the Aga Khan and it couldn't have started off much better as they took the day's other feature race, the Irish National Stud Blandford Stakes, for the second year in a row.
Four Sins was a last stride winner of this contest twelve months ago but there were no such palpitations experienced this time around as Katiyra justified odds-on favouritism with consummate ease.
The Peintre Celebre filly drew right away inside the final furlong to account for the staying-on Beach Bunny by four lengths.
"She was very impressive at Gowran last time on heavy ground so we had no worries about the ground today although it's very gluey out there.
"She's stepped up from Group 3 to Group 2 so the natural progression is to Group 1, we'll probably go to Longchamp for the Prix de l'Opera" said Oxx afterwards.
Rider Robbie Burke hasn't enjoyed any luck for the past year having been on the sidelines with a broken leg and then struggling to make a breakthrough since returning to action in May.
However, his new association with Andrew Kinsella though is already bearing fruit, and he rode his second winner in two days for the trainer when Rock Of Rochelle battled to a deserved success in the Group 3 St Jovite Renaissance Stakes.
Winner of the Blenheim Stakes at this meeting last year, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar has been far from straightforward, as the winning trainer revealed: "He's had a lot of injury and sickness and we just haven't had the breaks with him.
"He rolls when he goes into his box and gets cast nearly every other day, it's been one thing after another really.
"We were worried about the ground as well, we were hoping to get the ground for him in a listed race herein a fortnight. If we don't get the ground we might travel with him.
"It's great for Robbie too, he only came on board last week and he's had two winners from three rides.
"It's great for everybody and I especially want to thank Mr Quinn andHer Diamond Necklace Farms."
Another horse that seems to love the Curragh in September, or indeed at any time, is Baron De'l, who gained his fifth course success when winning the 1m 2f premier handicap in the hands of Fran Berry.
"The plan is to go hurdling. If the ground is favourable we'll go to Punchestown in October for the same race Captain Cee Bee won last year.
"He jumps brilliantly at home" revealed winning trainer Ed Harty.
Berry completed a double in the concluding listed race for juvenilefillies on Dreamtheimpossible for David Wachman, and now moves two ahead of Johnny Murtagh in the jockeys championship.
The other premier handicap on the card, this time over 5 furlongs was won by the Tom McCourt-trained Zhukhov, who overcame some trouble in running to account for Six Of Hearts by a length and a half and give rider Amy Parsons her first winner at the Curragh.
"It's nice to win a pot like that, he's been consistent all year and I thought he had a serious chance,"revealed McCourt.
He added: "Five furlongs on this ground is about perfect for him and Amy was very good on him.
"A light weight on that ground was a big help. He's had a long year so I won't be too pushed if he runs again."
The Ballydoyle team once again got their tactics absolutely spot on in the Leger. Septimus was magnificent androunded off a year of total dominance for Aidan O'Brien.
Quote of the day:
"It's not a bad job being the second jockey at Ballydoyle" - Seamus Heffernan with typical understatement after winning his third Classic of the season.