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Castle Star heads juvenile standings
The Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday looked like a competitive affair, but the winner could be named some way out as Castle Star cruised into contention and quickened a couple of lengths clear in impressive style, putting up the best performance by a juvenile in Britain or Ireland this season.
The most striking aspect of the performance was how strongly Castle Star travelled, and he always looked to have matters under control. Saturday’s race was contested over 6 furlongs, but Castle Star also won a 5-furlong Listed race on his previous start. He is a versatile sort who will be a big player if taking his chance in the Norfolk Stakes or Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Bolger’s bravery pays off
Few trainers campaign their horses as boldly as Jim Bolger and his enterprise was rewarded on Saturday with a one-two in the Irish 2000 Guineas. Not many trainers would have run Mac Swiney – who had disappointed on his return in the Derrinstown two weeks earlier, or Poetic Flare – who had already contested classics at Newmarket and Longchamp in May.
However, Bolger has never been one to duck a challenge or wrap his horses in cotton wool and his pair of home-breds fought out a memorable finish at the Curragh, with Mac Swiney giving his trainer a first winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas. Mac Swiney has another big assignment coming up as he will be running in the Derby at Epsom on Saturday week.
Willie Mullins is the man whatever the code
“I’ve always said that Sheikh Mohammed should have sent Willie 200 horses years ago and got him out of the way”, joked eight-time champion jumps trainer Noel Meade, whose last title was achieved in 2006/2007 before Willie Mullins started a period of unprecedented dominance. Meade, speaking after Helvic Dream won the Tattersalls Gold Cup to give him a first Group 1 Flat winner, has a point as Mullins advertised his genius whatever the code with a big-handicap double on the card.
Baby Zeus was coming from a top yard having previously been with Ger Lyons, but he still showed improved form to make a winning start for Mullins, scoring in the style of a Group horse. The trainer was also on the mark with Foveros, who barely needed to come off the bridle to justify strong support in the concluding 2m handicap. It’s not just jumps trainers wondering what they can do to compete with Mullins.
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