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Curragh report: Dawn Patrol success the highlight of O’Brien and Heffernan trebles

Sun 27 Sep 2020

Dawn Patrol completed a Curragh treble for Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan, with a battling display in the Comer Group International Loughbrown Stakes.

The Group Three contest represented a drop in class for the son of Galileo, who finished sixth in the St Leger at Doncaster on his latest appearance a fortnight ago.

Also third in the Irish Derby earlier in the year, the 5-2 shot travelled strongly and saw out the trip well on his first start over two miles, for a decisive three-quarter-length success over Barrington Court.

Heffernan said: “He arrived there on the bridle. Aidan said to ride him with loads of confidence and take all the chances down the inside.

“He finished out well and could be a two-mile or two-and-a-half-mile horse. Maybe that could be his thing – and I don’t think ground matters.”

O’Brien’s Van Gogh (4-7 favourite) had earlier made the most of having his sights lowered in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

Placed at Group Three and Group Two level at Leopardstown this season, the son of American Pharoah opened his account with a half-length verdict over Colour Sergeant.

Heffernan spoke to Gary O'Brien after riding his treble

“He’s a gorgeous big horse, and I’d say there could be a lot of improvement in him,” said Heffernan.

“He’s been running well – and because he’s big, I get the impression there could be a lot of improvement with time.”

O’Brien and Heffernan also hit the target with Irish Derby fourth Order Of Australia (6-5 favourite), in the Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital Race.

“In fairness, he’s never had many chances of winning races, because he was working well and running in Classics,” said Heffernan.

“He’s two from two now after a little break, and he took a blow with me again.”

Elysium strikes for Meade

Noel Meade’s Elysium caused a minor upset in the Weld Park Stakes.

A field of 10 juvenile fillies faced the starter in the seven-furlong Group Three, with the Jessica Harrington-trained No Speak Alexander the 3-1 favourite after finishing second in a Listed event at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend.

Elysium was rated 17lb inferior to the market leader, having been placed in a couple of conditions races since opening her account at Navan in June.

However, ridden by Billy Lee, the 12-1 shot raised her game significantly to claim victory by a length and a half from Aunty Bridy – providing her multiple champion jumps trainer with a rare Pattern success on the Flat.

Thinking Of You beat No Speak Alexander to third place by a nose.

Meade said: “Some people might be surprised by that, but I’m not. She’s been showing me that all the time at home – and I thought we’d nothing to lose by running here, because if she got into the shake-up she’d be worth a few quid.

“Billy said he got a bump coming out of the gate, and it lit her up a bit. He was able to stick her in and get her relaxed again – and he couldn’t believe how she picked up.

“I own a piece of her myself, along with two friends. We bought four two-year-olds with the idea of selling them, so I would be surprised if the money comes that we don’t sell.

“It’s a while since we had a Group race winner on the Flat, but we’ve not had too many runners.”

Six of the best for A Step Too Far

A Step Too Far completed a six-timer in the Heffernan Tyres Joe McGrath Handicap.

The Footstepsinthesand filly was rated just 48 when joining Kieran Cotter from Peter Fahey’s yard earlier this year, but lined up for her latest assignment on a mark of 85 following wins at Naas, Navan and Cork and two more at Bellewstown.

Ridden by 7lb claimer Adam Farragher, the 11-2 chance saw off Beckwith Place by half a length.

Cotter said: “This was the long-term target, up to six weeks ago. She’s answered every call, and there’s nothing (more) I can say about her now. She’s just incredibly tough.

“She has just got better and better. We do nothing with her at home between races. You just couldn’t, because if you put a saddle on her she just wants to go a hundred miles an hour.

“We’re looking at the Mercury Stakes at Dundalk over five furlongs now as a possibility.”

Jazz hits right note

Dearg Jazz was a 14-1 winner of the Mongey Communications Nursery for trainer James Barrett and apprentice rider Luke McAteer, before Secret Pulse confirmed previous promise with victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies & Mares Maiden.

The 4-1 shot was opening her account at the fourth attempt for the father-and-son combination of Gerry and Colin Keane.

Colin Keane said: “She’s improved from run to run. The last day, she was still green and ran around.

“She’s not the most straightforward, but the penny is starting to drop with her, and it’s nice to get her a winning bracket.”

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