Soffia sparkles in Ballyogan Stakes triumph

Classy Lynam filly holds on for Group Three success

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Soffia just hung on to claim Group Three honours in a thrilling finish to the TRM – Excellence In Equine Nutrition Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh.

The eight-runner field quickly split into two groups, with Lethal Promise and Rapid Reaction on the far side and Julia’s Magic leading the rest down the centre.

As they converged from three out, the Edward Lynam-trained Soffia (11-4) was moving with real purpose in the hands of Declan McDonogh and full of running at the two-furlong marker.

But the Mick Channon-trained Dan’s Dream stuck to her task in determined fashion and made it desperately close in the finish, with just a neck separating the pair.

Another British raider, Kevin Ryan’s Queen Jo Jo, was close up in third, a further half-length back.

Lynam said: “It was probably a combination of jockey being right and trainer being right. I wanted to go for this, Declan said she was getting quicker now and five was her best trip. We might have been both right.

“I think maybe five is her best trip now. I know we won, so we got away with it. She was gutsy and in fairness I’d say the runner-up’s best trip is seven and that was a help.”

He added: “I’ll make an entry for the Flying Five and make an entry for the Sapphire. Declan is mad keen for me to go to England. He thinks she’d love England.

“I know those English sprints and know how good you have to be. She’s won a Group Three and won a Listed. She’s not going to Royal Ascot or anything like that.

“I think we’ve a good enough programme here, we didn’t use to have it. We’ve the Sapphire on Oaks weekend (at the Curragh) and the Flying Five.”

Guaranteed completed a good couple of days for Jim Bolger with a hard-earned success in the Listed TRI Equestrian Silver Stakes at the Curragh.

Last seen in the Irish 2,000 Guineas won by Phoenix Of Spain, Ronan Whelan’s mount was soon to the front in the 10-furlong contest, after Pacific Ocean had briefly led.

As the race hotted up Guaranteed refused to buckle, despite Old Glory pressing hard, with Riven Light needing racing room in a pocket on what was a most promising first start in 215 days.

Colin Keane had to switch on the latter and try as he might he just found the line coming too soon, as the Willie Mullins-trained gelding went down by a short head to the 7-1 winner.

Bolger, who landed the Listed Glencairn Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday, said: “He stayed at it well. He took a while to build up to it as a two-year-old as well.

“I think he can step up in trip and you could possibly see him back here in three weeks’ time.”

Lil Grey earned herself a Royal Ascot entry with an impressive winning performance in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race for Sheila Lavery.

The Starspangledbanner filly had done little wrong on debut when second to Fozzy Stack’s Mohican Heights and came forward nicely from that to win with some authority.

Lavery said of her 9-1 scorer: “I thought the ground would be beautiful and thought if she came out and won you’d have to put an entry in for the Albany, so I will put an entry in now and we’ll see.”

Lope Y Fernandez looked a smart prospect in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (C & G) Maiden, and could also be Ascot-bound.

Ridden by Donnacha O’Brien for his father, Aidan, the Lope De Vega colt was sent off the 15-8 favourite and was never far from the pace, putting the race nicely to bed when asked.

O’Brien had the first three home, with Kipling and Mythologic filling the second and third spots respectively.

The Ballydoyle trainer said: “The winner could be a Chesham horse and so could the other two.

“I’d say the winner is nice, he picked up well and travelled well throughout the race.”

Soffia sparkles in Ballyogan Stakes triumph
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