Lush Lashes battles to win Matron
REPORT: MATRON STAKES, Sunday
JIM BOLGER had expressed concern about the ground before the Matron Stakes for Lush Lashes, but his Coronation Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks heroine belied those fears with another top class display, so initiating a memorable Group 1 double at Leopardstown on Sunday.
A top-class field went to post for the Coolmore-sponsored 1m contest, including three British raiders.
After Lush Lashes, the 9-4 favourite, took over from the James Given-trained Lady Gloria2f from home, it was the Mark Johnston-trained Nahoodh who emerged as her biggest threat.
But, under a power-packed ride from Kevin Manning, Lush Lashes pulled out all the stops to prevail by a neck.
Aidan O'Brien has never won this race, and fromhis four participants in the €250,000 event, leading fancy Halfway To Heaven filled third spot, a further half-length adrift.
The Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine was followed home by stable companions You'resothrilling and one-time 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winter favourite Listen, who were making their seasonal debuts after meeting with setbacks earlier in the year.
Winning rider Kevin Manning said: "She's as tough as boots but she just got away with it on the ground."
Her trainer echoed those sentiments. "It was too dead for her, but better than we thought," admitted Bolger.
Lush Lashes was initially ruled out of the Yorkshire Oaks because of the ground, but took part when the race was subsequently transferred to Newmarket.
Future plans could involve a trip to France, Bolger adding: "She's in the mile at Newmarket but we might not want to do that.
"The Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp is her next likely run and she has an invite to Hong Kong. The Breeders' Cup people would like to see her in California but it will be hard to please everybody. It'll be Dubai then in the springtime, the Dubai Duty Free."
The big disappointment of the race was Carribean Sunset. She was seeking her first Group 1 success afterregistering three Group 3 wins in contrasting groundbut could finish only eighth under Pat Smullen.
The jockey said: "She was just a bit flat and never got going. We'd have liked a lead and some cover out of stall 12 but, overall, she just was not herself."
Mooretown Lady, bred by starter Joe Banahan, had to be withdrawn after refusing to load.