Speak In Colours could be seen in France next weekend after running out a decisive winning favourite for Joseph O’Brien in the Group Three AES Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh.
The grey, a Listed winner over course and distance in June, had twice had to settle for fourth at Group Two level on his travels to Britain since.
A Group Three winner at the Curragh last season too, the four-year-old was being ridden for the first time by Shane Crosse – for whom this was first Group-race winner.
They were prominent early and then produced another telling surge a furlong from home before staying on to beat Billy Lee Downforce by a length and a quarter.
Reflecting on the 6-5 shot’s victory, O’Brien said: “It was a good performance.
“Obviously he was ahead on ratings, but the second horse is very good on soft ground. Shane gave him a lovely ride. ”
There is a possibility of a Group One trip on the back of this success.
O’Brien added: “He’s in the (Prix de la) Foret next week, so there is a chance he might go there if he comes out of this OK.
“He’s won on all types of ground and seems very versatile. He’d nearly a career best when fourth in (the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at) Ascot – and that was good and quick.
“He’s a great horse to have, because he’s very solid and runs his race over six or seven furlongs.”
Crosse added: “That’s my first Group race winner. A big thanks must go to Joseph, and it’s great to get the opportunity.
“He’s a lovely relaxed type. I probably got there a bit soon – but when Billy’s horse came to me, he kept going well.”
Dermot Weld’s Kastasa easily got the better of front-running favourite Capri to land the four-runner Holden Plant Rentals Loughbrown Stakes, a second Group Three on the card.
Aidan O’Brien’s Capri, a dual Group One winner two years ago, was fitted with blinkers in search of a return to form – and Seamie Heffernan made his tactics immediately and abundantly clear from the front over this two-mile trip.
But top apprentice Andrew Slattery had market rival Kastasa positioned second of four – and with two furlongs to travel, it was apparent the three-year-old filly was about to pounce for her fifth victory in six starts this season.
It was both her Group-race debut and that of the winning jockey.
The 11-8 winner had seven lengths to spare at the line, with Cypress Creek staying on to take second four and three-quarter lengths in front of his stablemate.
Weld was full of praise afterwards for both horse and jockey.
“She’s very good, and progressing all the time,” he said.
“I couldn’t take him off her, because they are such a team together. Every time he’s ridden her they just click. He gives her a chance to find her feet – and makes lovely, steady progress on her.
“I thought he gave her a superb ride at Leopardstown, by getting over from a wide draw to get a position. He deserved the ride here for that, and did everything right here.
“They were really travelling and were strung out. To go two miles at that pace and the way she found another gear off a fast pace, you would hope she would be a Gold Cup filly for next year. That’s it for this year.”
Slattery added: “I wasn’t expecting to get the ride but was delighted that I did. Mr Weld has put a lot of faith in me, and I’m delighted to repay him.”