Patrick Sarsfield graduates to Group class at Leopardstown

O’Brien runner lifts the Meld Stakes.

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Patrick Sarsfield continued his rapid rise through the ranks with a stylish display in the Green Room Meld Stakes at Leopardstown.

Having won two decent handicaps already this season, the first coming off a mark of just 86, he was given a shot at Group Three company by Joseph O’Brien.

Sent off the 5-2 second favourite behind behind Roger Varian’s raider Zabeel Prince, a Group One winner in his youth, Patrick Sarsfield had too much zip for his older rival.

Declan McDonogh enjoyed a dream run through on the rail, taking over from Ancient Spirit over a furlong out and soon put the race to bed.

It was not as straightforward for Zabeel Prince who, while travelling well, was forced very wide off the final bend and found little in the finish.

Ancient Spirit stuck to his task well to finish second with Fort Myers third.

O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell said: “Declan said it was just a nice gallop, but he travelled lovely and when the gap came he quickened up really well and did it like a good horse.

“He just has that one kick and then gallops, but you have to hand it to him, what he’s done in his last three runs – he seems to have improved every time.

“He’s a grand horse and has a good attitude. He’s very laid-back. Eddie Greatrex rides him every day at home and he just goes through the motions. Every task we’ve asked him, he’s gone and done it.”

O’Brien’s 2017 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling was unplaced on his return to action in the Holden Plant Rentals QR Race – beaten just over four lengths.

Following his famous win he stayed to be trained in Australia but only managed one run, in which he finished last of 15.

That was in March 2019 and now back with O’Brien, he had plenty in hand on the official ratings, but could only finish sixth.

Dermot Weld’s 11-year-old Tandem (9-2) showed a sprightly turn of foot to win by two and three-quarter lengths from 100-1 shot Persian Lion.

“He ran a cracking race in Cork last Sunday and when the handicapper put him up a couple of pounds, we said we might as well come here,” said Weld.

“The other reason I ran him is that he loves Leopardstown and won the Nasrullah Premier Handicap here twice. Six years ago he ran in Dubai and he’s just a lovely horse to have.

“We retired him once, but he’s an example of a horse that loves being a racehorse.”

Powell said of Rekindling: “You’d have to be delighted with him. I know he was rated a lot higher than them, but he’s had a long time off. Hopefully he’s OK tomorrow and in the next few days and we can have a bit of fun with him.”

O’Brien was also on the mark with Vafortino (11-2) in the opening Buy Online At Irish Yearling Sales Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden under Shane Crosse.

Ger Lyons is thinking big with Masen (4-5 favourite) who won the Buy Online At Irish Yearling Sales Irish EBF Maiden on debut.

“He was very green and very raw, but went through the gears the way we thought he would. He idled in front but that’s what he does at home,” said Lyons.

“He’s a horse we like and the Tyros Stakes would be an obvious next start for him, but he has to keep progressing and mentally has to keep coming with us as well.”

Patrick Sarsfield graduates to Group class at Leopardstown
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