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Belle has a ball in opener

Kevin Prendergast got off to a flying start in the new turf Flat season when Beach Belle took the Tally Ho Stud EBF Maiden at the Curragh, the opening race of the campaign.

Owned by Lady O'Reilly, the daughter of smart Group One-placed mare Beach Bunny travelled nicely up to the leaders on the outside at the furlong pole under Chris Hayes and was well on top at the end, finishing two lengths clear of Bwana.

The winner was a 7-2 chance in the face of support for Alertness, who was sent off the 7-4 favourite in her attempt to give Jim Bolger a fourth consecutive success in the race, which he won with future champion Dawn Approach in 2012. She held every chance before fading to finish fourth.

Prendergast said: "She's quite smart, although I don't know how she'll do when the ground dries out a bit. She's been quite good from the first bit of work she's done and she may run in the Marble Hill Stakes back here, although I'd have to discuss it with the owner."

Beach Bunny, who also ran in the O'Reilly colours, won three races for Prendergast and was beaten a short head by Dar Re Mi in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes five years ago.

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