Emulous off to a flyer
Group One-winning mare Emulous set out on her new campaign with an impressive show in the Group Three TRI Equestrian Stakes at the Curragh.
Dermot Weld's charge was giving away at least 2lb to the rest of the nine-strong field after winning the Matron Stakes last term.
Pat Smullen settled the 4-5 favourite in fifth before making his move a furlong out and the response was almost immediate as Emulous picked up with the minimum of fuss to record a one-and-three-quarter-length verdict in style from outsider One Spirit.
The jockey, landing his second Group Three victory of the afternoon, said: "She's a very good mare. She's got a lot of ability and travelled very well there. She's a very talented filly, she just kept improving and progressing last year and hopefully she will do the same thing this year.
"It was not a do or die win today so to win like that is very impressive. It's up to Khalid Abdullah and the boss where she goes next, but I would like to think everything is open to her."
Weld confirmed Royal Ascot is likely to be the plan with Emulous now.
He said: "I'm delighted with Emulous, she's a proper Group One filly. When she won the Matron last September she beat a very good field. She usually takes a run, so I was just a little bit concerned she might need the run.
"She was a number of kilos up, but she's done well from four to five and all being well we'll look seriously at the Windsor Forest at Royal Ascot. I'll speak with (Abdullah's racing manager) Lord Grimthorpe and the Windsor Forest will be the plan.
"She was a very immature filly initially - we only ran her once as a two-year-old and she won and then she won a couple of Group races for us as a three-year-old. She won a Group One as a four-year-old and it's lovely to see her, she's a joy to train."