Eddie Lynam’s fast-improving filly Soffia put the raiding party in their place with a thoroughly impressive display in the Friarstown Stud Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh.
A field of nine sprinters went to post for the five-furlong Group Two, five of whom were aiming to take the prize back to Britain for the fifth year in succession.
Having following up a Listed success at Naas with a course-and-distance victory in the Group Three Ballyogan Stakes in early June, Soffia was a 6-1 shot in the hands of Declan McDonogh – and it was impossible not to be taken by the way she shot three and a half lengths clear with relative ease.
John Quinn’s admirable performer El Astronaute fared best of the Brits in second, ahead of the Charlie Hills-trained Garrus and Archie Watson’s 2-1 favourite Soldier’s Call in third and fourth respectively.
Lynam said: “I thought she was good – I didn’t know she was that good!
“She keeps surprising me. There were no prisoners there today. I’d say a few of them picked up penalty points in the first couple of furlongs – they were winging it.
“She got there easy and won easy. It’s stating the obvious, but that’s her most impressive performance.”
Soffia is likely to step up to Group One level on her next appearance, with both the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes and the Prix de l’Abbaye under consideration.
“She’ll have two more entries, the Flying Five and the Abbaye. She’s not in the Nunthorpe,” Lynam added.
“We’ve a good programme here now for these horses. They keep saying that the English win all the time, and the Irish never win – but we win quite a bit.
“Aidan (O’Brien) won a July Cup last week (with Ten Sovereigns), and we’ve won this today. We don’t have the volume of the English, but arguably she’s as good as most of them – and Ten Sovereigns is better than all of them.
“They are both trained here, and we should be proud of them.”