Paddy Twomey was pleased to see his long-term plan for Silk Forest come to fruition as she won the Naas Racecourse Business Club Irish EBF Garnet Stakes.
The three-year-old was having just her fourth career start in the mile heat, having finished second in two maidens in April before returning to break her duck in style at Leopardstown in August.
Sent off a 7-1 shot on her first attempt at Listed level, Silk Forest made all in the hands of Billy Lee – staying on strongly to beat Trethias by five lengths.
Twomey said: “She’s always been a nice filly, and we’ve taken our time with her. I picked out this race a while ago, and I said we’d run here and then keep her for the spring next year.
“She doesn’t mind the soft ground, and I think she has the ability to win a Group race. She’s always been able to do that.”
Solage (14-1) took the other Listed prize, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Bluebell Stakes, for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning.
The 12-furlong race produced an exciting finish, with Solage holding Warnaq by three-quarters of a length and Camphor a head further back in third.
Bolger said: “She had a setback in the spring and did well to get back. She’s tough and likes it deep.
“It’s not been discussed yet whether she will stay in training, but she could be a Leger type for next year.”
Willie McCreery was delighted to see Lustown Baba (12-1) bag more than 70,000 euros with victory in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Race Final.
She raced keenly for Leigh Roche in the seven-furlong heat but found plenty for pressure, eventually edging a short head in front of Lafayette on the line.
McCreery said: “I’m thrilled for the syndicate. One of the syndicate owners (Laurence Sheedy) bred her and didn’t sell, so all his friends got into her. They are from Lustown near Dunboyne, so that’s how she got her name.
“She might run on Wednesday in the Forans Nursery (at Navan), because she loves the ground.
“It’s a great series, because you can buy fillies and look for these races and you are weighted on what they cost.
“For a syndicate like this to win that sort of prize-money is great.”
At the other end of the scale, $1million purchase Hong Kong (11-2) got off the mark at the fourth attempt in the Tifrums Irish EBF (C & G) Maiden.
A half-brother to Caravaggio, Hong Kong stepped up on his recent second to win by a length and a half over six furlongs.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “He was very lazy the last day, and the blinkers helped him to concentrate. Donnacha (O’Brien, jockey) said when he got confident today that he really stretched.
“He travelled well today and he’ll be a lovely three-year-old.
“I’d say he’ll get a mile – and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get it next year. You would like the way he ran, with his head down today and straight.”
Love Locket (2-1 favourite) completed quick doubles for the O’Briens when beating fast-finishing stablemate Darkest in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies’ Maiden.
“She’s learning, and Donnacha said she was still a bit green today,” said the winning handler.
“He said she will get much further than six too, which is good. I’d say that will be it for this year.”
Jessica Harrington has an embarrassment of riches in the juvenile fillies’ division, and For The Trees (11-2) could be another to note after a length win in the Tally-Ho Stud Irish EBF Birdcatcher Premier Nursery Handicap.
Harrington said: “She’s a tough filly. She’s not very big, but she really tries her heart out.
“I’ve wanted to win this race for some time. It’s one of the older races in the calendar and has a bit of history about it.
“She’s in the sales on Tuesday, so I’m not sure what will happen now.”