Fantastic Fiesolana bags Matron
Fiesolana gave Curragh trainer Willie McCreery his biggest winner to date when scooting through a gap in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
Already a multiple Group scorer, and placed at the highest level in last month's Prix Maurice de Gheest, she quickened up at just the right moment for Billy Lee
Wee Jean was half a furlong away from causing an enormous surprise for the Mick Channon stable but first the 7-4 favourite and eventual runner-up Rizeena threw down a determined challenge before Fiesolana squeezed past Tapestry and on to glory by half a length.
McCreery, a former Gaelic footballer and now an emerging force on the training scene, said: "I'm overcome. What a horse and what a ride. I thought she wasn't going to get there, but she did. Billy was as cool as a cucumber and never panicked.
"Billy was brilliant on her. I said to him to miss the break today, as she had been breaking brilliantly, and he missed it lovely. They went a sensible pace and she got into a bit of trouble, but it probably came at the right time. Billy is a cool rider and I said to him I'd rather he was beat than come too early.
"You dream of this, but realistically it's a Group One with the likes of Tapestry in there.
"The Niarchos family had the faith to send her back to me (after buying the daughter of Aussie Rules for 960,000 guineas). It was a huge compliment and I'm glad I could repay them.
"I can't believe it and it's great for her and for me. Patrick Cooper said to Alan (Cooper) to keep her in training this season as she'd win a Group One but at the start of the year she had an infection and we didn't know if we would get her back.
"She's still improving. She's hard to get fit as she's a big, solid type. She'll go for the Prix de la Foret now, presumably."
Officially running under the banner of Flaxman Stables Ireland, the Niarchos silks were first past the post in the 2012 Matron through the David Wachman-trained Duntle, but she was to lose the race in the stewards' room to Sir Henry Cecil's Chachamaidee.