Golden Trick showed plenty of guts to lead home a one-two for owners Bronte Collection in the valuable Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas on Monday.
There was €148,500 on offer for the winner of this fiercely-competitive two-year-old event, with Hugo Palmer’s raider holding off Kevin Ryan’s fellow British-trained runner Jungle Mate in a tight finish.
A winner at Chester last time, the winner was drawn on the far rail and stuck to the paint all the way up the six-furlong straight in the hands of Ben Coen.
Asked to kick on as the race entered the final furlong and a half, Golden Trick soon came to life under Coen and opened up a gap between him and the remainder of the field as the 20 runners were spread right across the width of the track.
Golden Trick’s advantage was diminishing by the stride inside the final stages as those on the far side were closing at a rate of knots. But the 13-2 scorer still had enough up his sleeve to come home a half-length winner and return to Palmer’s Cheshire base with the first prize.
Coen said: “I was hoping that they’d stay far side and not complicate things and go across.
“I had a lovely run the whole way. He came under me at halfway, I gave him a dig and kept him rolling. I probably got there too soon but he’s a hardy horse and he gets through that ground really well.
“In the last 75 yards he was having a look around and I’d say if something had come close to me, he would have went again.
“I had watched his couple of races. Hugo said he was straightforward and that he had come on from the last day and he’d handle the ground so to keep it simple. I’m delighted.”
In the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Rated Race, it was Adrian McGuinness’ Rush Queen that got the better of Aidan O’Brien’s 4-5 favourite The Caribbean.
The filly was seen racing over seven furlongs in a Group Three prior to this, but thrived when dropped back to the minimum distance and proved the perfect tonic for her handler who endured a testing time during the recent Galway Festival.
“It’s a bit of compensation (after Galway), it’s forgotten about now after today,” said McGuinness.
“Cian (MacRedmond, jockey) gave her a great ride, I know it was a small field. I thought it was going to be tactical and I told him to sit behind Ryan and try to come with one blast with her.
“Aidan’s horse had blinkers on, so we were saying that he might not be the most straightforward. That’s exactly what he did and she quickened up really well and went away nicely.
“We might hunt a bit of black type with her again and maybe even try to find something in England. She’s for sale as well, but if she’s not sold we will hunt blacktype.
“She’s a very genuine filly and she’s won a nice pot of money today so it’s great.
“She’s not slow, I’ve worked her with the Listed filly at home (Tiger Belle) and there is not a whole pile between them. She travelled very well today.”