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Curragh report: Thundering Nights carries on progression to floor Albigna

Fri 28 Aug 2020

Albigna had her colours lowered by Thundering Nights in the Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes at the Curragh.

A Group One-winning juvenile for Jessica Harrington, Albigna also ran with great credit at the Breeders’ Cup last year.

Sent off favourite for the Irish 1,000 Guineas on her only start of the season, she was sixth to Peaceful in a race that has worked out well, with runner-up Fancy Blue and fifth-placed Even So being Group One winners since.

Watch a full replay of the Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes

Off the track for 76 days and stepping up to nine furlongs for the first time, Shane Foley appeared to be travelling well enough on the even-money market leader but needed a gap and Shane Crosse was quick to ensure he got first run on Joseph O’Brien’s filly.

The 7-2 chance, who was stepping up markedly in class, found the ground no problem at all as she quickened smartly, taking two lengths out of the field.

Albigna gave chase but it proved in vain, with Thundering Nights winning by a length and a half.

“She’s improving. She toughed it out well the last time in Leopardstown and is getting bigger and stronger all the time. She loves that ground,” said Brendan Powell, O’Brien’s assistant.

“Shane said she’s very relaxed and you never really know how well you’re travelling.

“I thought for a minute that Albigna wouldn’t get out, and then when she did fair play to our filly, she stayed on well. She will stay further, but I suppose there is no need to at the moment.

“She’s a Group Three winner that is improving and she may step up another grade. She has a great attitude and when you have that in a filly they will win you races.”

Laughifuwant provided the father and son team of Gerard and Colin Keane with another major prize when winning the Paddy Power Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh.

Watch a full replay of the Irish Cambridgeshire

Having claimed the Ahonoora Handicap for the duo at Galway last summer, the five-year-old reappeared in the same race this term, finishing eighth but beaten only three lengths.

Sheila Lavery’s pair of Quizical and Breaking Story were in front entering the final furlong, but Keane timed his run just right on the 14-1 chance.

To Quizical’s credit he battled back for second having looked sure to be swamped, but he was three-quarters of a length adrift.

“He’s a good horse on soft ground, the softer the better,” said Keane senior.

“We couldn’t run him all year and had to go to Galway without a run. He still ran a blinder and it probably left him right for here.

“He’ll probably go to Leopardstown for the Sovereign Path Premier Handicap over seven furlongs.

“His two previous wins were over seven furlongs (both at Galway) and Colin changed tactics completely today and dropped him in. He said he wouldn’t make too much use of him in case he didn’t get the trip.

“It’s great for us to have a horse like him. We bought him to sell as a breeze-up horse, but couldn’t even get him into the sale.

“I only have a handful in training and mostly pre-train for Ger (Lyons). He’s keeping us alive!”

Divinely broke her maiden in the Group Three Kilcarn Stud Flame Of Tara Irish EBF Stakes.

Watch how Divinely landed the spoils at the Curragh

By Galileo and out of Red Evie – which makes her a sister to Breeders’ Cup Turf and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Found – Divinely had failed to get off the mark in her first three starts.

She had finished behind Emaniya last time out and the reopposed her, but Dermot Weld’s filly lost all chance at the start when she stumbled badly coming out of the stalls.

Oisin Orr did well to stay in the saddle and while she very briefly threatened to get involved, the effort she had used to get back on terms soon told and the Sea The Stars filly faded away.

Divinely (5-1) needed stoking up by Wayne Lordan and still had five in front of her entering the final two furlongs, but Aidan O’Brien’s filly ultimately clung on once getting to the front to win by half a length.

“That’s a nice way for her to break her maiden. She had a good run in very deep ground in Roscommon,” said Lordan.

“I thought making the running in Cork wasn’t the ideal thing, but getting a lead today she travelled well and toughed it out well.

“You would imagine the way she went to the line that she is a filly that is going to stay really well.”

O’Brien and Lordan were doubling up in quick style having already won the opener with 7-4 joint-favourite Brazil.

A full-brother to St Leger winner Capri, a mile in heavy ground brought out his stamina.

“He stuck at it well, and the first-time blinkers helped him to travel and go forward. When they joined me it helped me and he battled out well to the line,” said Lordan.

“He’s a horse on pedigree that is going to stay much further so you would be hoping that next year there is going to be plenty of improvement.”

Jim Bolger’s New Treasure caused a 66-1 shock in the Heider Family Stables Round Tower Stakes.

The veteran handler has a good record in the Group Three event, and won it in 2008 with Maoineach, dam of the winner – but the son of New Approach looked to face a big task having finished seventh on his debut.

Ken Condon’s Teresa Mendoza looked like following up her debut win, but New Treasure got on top close home.

Paddy Power gave the winner a 40-1 quote for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

“The dam won this race first time out and Jim is delighted with him,” said Bolger’s daughter, Una Manning.

“Things just didn’t work out for him the last day when he was a bit keen first time out. We were confident that he would run a good race today.

“I’m not sure what the plans are, but I’m sure he’s well entered up.”

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