Turret Rocks floors Hazapour and company at Leopardstown
Turret Rocks ran out a surprise 14-1 winner of the ICON Meld Stakes at Leopardstown, with Derby fifth Hazapour only third.
The latter, trained by Dermot Weld, was sent off the hot favourite for the Group Three contest under Frankie Dettori, and travelled in third place through the early stages as the four runners were taken along in single file by Deauville.
Dettori started to make his move two and a half furlongs out, and all appeared to be going to plan swinging off the bend into the straight.
However, Hazapour, the 8-13 market leader, failed to pick up as expected and could not get the better of the front two, with Jim Bolger’s Turret Rocks nudging ahead close home in the hands of Kevin Manning to deny Deauville by a neck.
Hazapour was three-quarters of a length away in third, with Curly another half-length back.
Bolger said: “She was very good and she got some super assistance from the saddle. She wasn’t going to give it away anyway.
“After that we’ll probably keep her to a mile and a quarter or less.”
He added: “Probably the best mile-and-a-quarter race to come is at Longchamp on Arc day (Prix de l’Opera), but the only problem with that is she doesn’t like soft ground, so we have to be careful.
“She might get an invite to Hong Kong after that and I’ll have to take out my passport again.”
Waikuku looked a name to note when continuing the good run of John Oxx with a taking performance in the seven-furlong “Paul Young” Maiden.
The son of Harbour Watch was having his first start for 333 days, with his sole juvenile effort having come when fifth in a maiden at the Curragh which worked out extremely well.
National Glory set out to make all in a bid to shed his maiden tag, but Colm O’Donoghue made sure he kept him in his sights, and after a brief tussle in the straight the 11-10 favourite was nicely on top at the line, the pair well clear.
Oxx said: “He ran well. He was just a bit rusty and Colm gave him plenty of time to warm up in the straight.
“He’d like a mile, I’d say, and he’s a horse that could be effective from seven to nine furlongs, maybe a bit further, but a mile would be nice for him.
“He just gave him the one crack and he ran to the line very well. He said the ground felt slow on him and he wants really fast ground. I would have said that’s fast enough for most horses, but he said it felt almost a little slow for him. He’d have preferred faster ground, that he’d really rattle off.
“That could be because he’s a bit rusty and he could get a different feel the next day.”
Oxx went on: “He’s the best horse I’ve had for a few years now, that mightn’t be saying a lot because I haven’t had too many good ones for a while, but he’s a good horse this fella.
“You only have to look up his form from last year. He’s a lovely-looking, beautiful horse, very sound and we’ve had to wait a while just to have him here.
“We’re delighted with him. We’ll have to step him up a bit now, obviously.
“The Platinum Stakes in Cork might be a big jump from a maiden, but there might not be a little graduation race we could run in instead at the right distance, so we may have to go into something good straight away.”
On his current good run, Oxx said: “All good runs come to an end. You can’t keep winning all the time, as even Aidan O’Brien knows. We don’t have too many three-year-olds capable of winning, but we’re doing OK at the moment.”