Xenobia sprang a surprise when getting up close home to claim Group Three honours in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Brownstown Stud Stakes at Fairyhouse.
The four-year-old filly, trained by Bill Farrell, looked to have plenty to do with over a furlong to go but responded in game style for Chris Hayes to upstage Could It Be Love, who was second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and third in the Jersey Stakes.
The 5-6 favourite looked like landing the spoils for the Aidan O’Brien stable when she hit the front two and a half furlongs out, but she had no answer to the late surge of 12-1 shot Xenobia, who got the verdict by half a length.
Damselfly was a length and three-quarters away in third place, with the result meaning the Brownstown remains one of the very few races of note in Ireland to so far have eluded O’Brien.
“They went a good pace and he was able to drop her in,” said Farrell.
“She’s probably learning as she’s going along. She has her moments and has a high IQ, but it’s taken us a while to get her to listen to us.
“Samuel (Farrell, son and assistant) does all the work with her, and it’s a complete and utter credit to him. He rides her out and does a very good job with her.
“She may still be progressive. I’m not sure how good the race was, but she’s done it well. I’m not sure where we are going, but we put her in the Matron (Stakes, Group One at Leopardstown on September 15).”
He added: “We were a bit worried about the ground and came here today to avoid Killarney and Galway, as I didn’t want to go to either place for those fillies’ races.
“Peter Roe (racecourse manager) has done a terrific job with the ground and it’s a real credit to him. There is a little bit of juice in it and it’s safe, firm ground.”
David O’Meara’s Lincoln Rocks faded out of contention after being prominent with Could It Be Love in the first half of the race.