Coral Beach glitters in Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown

One-two for O’Brien in Group Three feature

  • Saturday 20 October
  • News
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Coral Beach sprang a 16-1 surprise to win the Killavullan Stakes for Aidan O’Brien at Leopardstown.

Michael Hussey’s mount bided her time in the seven-furlong Group Three contest, before picking up much better-fancied stablemate Old Glory and running out a one-length winner.

O’Brien’s Old Glory, sent off at 2-1 second-favourite, broke well and set out to lead all the way under Seamie Heffernan.

He had a two-length lead into the straight but had no answer to Coral Beach’s sustained run on the rail – with Jim Bolger’s Guaranteed also staying on late to snatch second.

Favourite No Needs Never, on the back of his unexpected Listed win over Old Glory at Dundalk last time out, could never land a blow in the rematch and trailed in seventh.

Coral Beach had mustered just one maiden victory, on her penultimate start at Cork, from 11 previous attempts – and was consequently very much her powerful stable’s second string here.

But she was a convincing winner nonetheless.

Winning jockey Hussey said: “She has plenty of ability, but she needs things to go right – and they did today.

“She travelled really well to the furlong pole – and when I went there, I think I got there a bit early.

“She’s got her head in front now, and she knows what to do. There is improvement in her, I hope.

“You have to ride her with a bit of confidence. Seamie told me to ride her down the inside and don’t come off the inside, so I stuck to that.”

Flavius was an emphatic winner of the Listed Trigo Stakes, completing a treble for jockey Declan McDonogh and trainer Dermot Weld.

The 9-4 favourite was held up early, while Success Days made the running, but moved into contention on the outside and took over with a fine turn of foot in the final furlong to win by half a length from Flight Risk.

Weld was most impressed by the three-year-old colt, racing for only the second time this season, and is anticipating significant further improvement next year.

“He’s a 520 kilo horse, and it was only his second run of the year,” said the trainer.

“He was cantering throughout the race, and just got a little bit tired going to the line.

“He’s a lovely horse to look forward to next year at Group level. We’ve had a few problems getting this horse right, and he has the potential to go all the way to the top.

“He could be a Tattersalls Gold Cup horse. He has a lot of pace, and I love this horse. He’s a smashing horse.

“It’s been a great day – three lovely winners, and all very important owners.”

McDonogh said of the Khalid Abdullah-owned winner: “He’s a real physical specimen – and he was so relaxed all the way, even though it was a bit messy down the back.

“I’d say there is a nice bit of improvement in him. You would have to be delighted with that on just his third run against some seasoned horses.”

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