Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Grafelli sparkles in Anglesey

It's easy in the end for Grafelli

Grafelli secured a second win on the bounce in the Jebel Ali Stables & Racecourse Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh in the absence of likely hot favourite Cristoforo Colombo due to the ground.

The Group Three contest had an open look to it and Jim Bolger's colt (9-4) handled the conditions best of all, ploughing through the mud to beat the Andrew Oliver-trained Hard Yards by six and a half lengths.

Ballydoyle jockey Joseph O'Brien switched to Count Of Limonade, who was sent off the 7-4 favourite, but he was eventually well beaten after holding every chance.

Bolger said: "I expect him to stay a mile and he's shown before that he's effective from six furlongs, so I don't think trip matters. I don't think ground matters, either. He handles the soft ground very well, but I think he might even be better on better ground."

Winning jockey Kevin Manning added: "His first run was over seven furlongs and he came on a long way for that run. He did it well next time out in Naas, conditions were soft as well there. He handles the ground very well, but he's improved a lot from Naas again - he was very professional.

"Dawn Approach is a long way ahead of Grafelli, but this guy is not a bad horse. Any horse that can win a Group Three by six and a half lengths is not a bad horse."

Dibayani, who was in front of Grafelli when the pair made their debuts, confirmed the favourable impression he made in finishing second when landing the Darley EBF Maiden.

The seven-furlong contest has launched the careers of the likes of Teofilo, New Approach and Sea The Stars, but Dibayani had the benefit of that good run behind the highly regarded The United States.

Johnny Murtagh asked Mick Halford's juvenile to quicken between the two Ballydoyle runners Quadriga and Hall Of Mirrors a furlong down and the race looked won, but newcomer Orgilgo Bay emerged as a threat and the 8-13 favourite had to work all the way to the line to score by half a length.

Halford said: "In the testing conditions it was a good performance. He settled well and went through the gap well. It was a nice step up from his first run. He'll go for a stakes race now and he should keep improving. He will appreciate better ground."