Chief Little Hawk scoops Ballyhane as Heffernan grabs 5,277-1 treble

Sun 23 Aug 2020

Chief Little Hawk got the better of Monaasib in a thrilling finish to the inaugural Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas.

The six-furlong contest offered 149,200 euros to the winner and duly drew 19 runners, with Tom Dascombe’s British raider Devious Company sent off the 2-1 favourite following his second place in a sales' race at York just three days ago.

However, he failed to take a hand in the finish, with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Chief Little Hawk and Kevin Prendergast’s Monaasib battling it out in the dying strides.

Chris Hayes looked to have made a winning move on Monaasib as he collared leader Measure Of Magic inside the distance, but Seamie Heffernan launched Chief Little Hawk up the stands side rail, with the Ballydoyle inmate responding in style.

Watch a full replay of the inaugural Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas

He and Monaasib were neck and neck at the line, but Chief Little Hawk (22-1) got the nod by a short head, with the pair two and a half lengths clear of another fast finisher, Mooniesta, in third.

Devious Company found little for pressure and finished ninth.

Heffernan won the other features on the card, at 7-2 and 50-1, to pull off a dazzling 5,277-1 treble.

He said: “He was one of our Ascot horses and was impressive at Navan. The last day at the Curragh, he ran out past the line, so I was coming here fancying him today.

“Today was his first try at six furlongs and he got it really well. There is a chance that he might get another furlong and if he does, he’s got loads of speed to travel right.

“I thought I’d won, but at Killarney the other day I thought I’d won well and it was only a nose (on So Wonderful), so maybe my eyesight is not as good as it was!

“Ballyhane Stud deserves a huge amount of praise, not only for putting on this big race but also an 80,000 euros consolation race. It’s massive.”

Passion made every yard of the running under Heffernan to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Stanerra Stakes at Naas.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, the Galileo filly was stepping up in trip to a mile and three-quarters after some decent efforts in top-class company – not least finishing third in the Irish Oaks on her penultimate start.

Last seen in the Group Three Give Thanks Stakes earlier this month, Passion was sent off a 7-2 chance under Seamie Heffernan, who was keen to assume control from the off.

He set merely a moderate gallop and having earlier made good use of the stands rail, he took the field over to that side as the race began in earnest in the straight.

Traisha and favourite Kastasa, who had been on and off the bridle at points, tried to reel Passion back in, but Heffernan had saved a little and she eventually pushed on for a length-and-three-quarters verdict.

Passion’s victory proved the middle leg of a treble for Heffernan, who took the richly-endowed Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes on O’Brien’s Chief Little Hawk as well as landing the consolation for that event on 50-1 chance Sweet Gardenia.

Heffernan said: “Billy Lee rode her in the (Irish) Oaks and she ran well and came out of the race well. She stays that trip and is probably maturing into her full strength now.

“She could run well in a Leger or the Park Hill.” Paddy Power offer 33-1 about Passion for the St Leger.

Trainer Johnny Feane celebrated a landmark Listed success as Bounce The Blues sprang a 20-1 shock in the Owenstown Stud Stakes.

The daughter of Excelebration beat So Wonderful in a maiden over the same seven furlongs at this track on her most recent start, but she took a huge leap up the ladder as she held off Soul Search by half a length.

Feane said: “It’s great that she won. She has buckets of pace for seven furlongs and we could even drop her back to six. It was a bit of a shot in the dark, but we thought she was very good at home.

“Her form has worked out well from the last day, so we said we’d take a pop and it has all worked out great. That’s my first Stakes winner. I’ve had a good few placed, but that’s the first Stakes winner.”

Half Nutz (12-1) made amends for a disappointing effort last time out with a two-and-a-half-length win in the Weatherbys GSB Handicap.

Trainer Sheila Lavery said: “I’m delighted with that. We tried him over five and Wayne got off him the last day and said this was his trip.

“He’s improving. Last year he was running a bit free and just a bit hard on himself, but now he’s as sweet as a nut.

“We could try him over seven now if something comes up as he’s much easier to ride. It’s a great syndicate that own him and it’s such a pity that they can’t be here.”

Silver Spear and Kokura dead-heated for third, but following a stewards’ inquiry into possible interference, Silver Spear was placed third and Kokura fourth

Noel Meade is looking forward to next month’s Irish Champions Weekend with Layfayette (5-1) after his victory in the Good Luck To Our 20 Lockdown Heroes Handicap.

He said: “I didn’t think he was going to win at any stage. I don’t know whether that was the ground or whether he’s gone lazy, but I suppose when he races like that it helps him to see out the trip.

“He’d been coming home every time and that’s the first time we pushed him out to that trip. I’d say he will run on Irish Champions Weekend if he gets in.”

The closing Heritage Hotel Handicap went to It’s All A Joke (22-1) for Ado McGuinness and Ronan Whelan.

More Latest News



Select any odd to add a bet

Single Bets

Enter a stake to place a bet

Total Stake: 

This video is playing in Picture-In-Picture. Click to Exit.