Highway motors to Blue Wind glory
Princess Highway marked herself as a possible Classic contender with victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Blue Wind Stakes at Naas.
Trained by Dermot Weld and ridden by Pat Smullen, Princess Highway was sent off a 7-2 chance after winning a Leopardstown maiden last time.
She was always travelling well for Smullen and as the well-backed front-runner Aloof began to toil in the straight, Princess Highway made her move. Smullen was in control a furlong out and while Aaraas tried her best to challenge, Princess Highway finished a length to the good.
She is not entered in the Investec Oaks but she holds a clutch of other top engagements, including the Irish 1000 Guineas and Oaks.
However, Weld is prepared to sidestep Classic possibilities and is eyeing a trip to Royal Ascot for the Ribblesdale Stakes, a race he won with Princess Highway's dam Irresistible Jewel back in 2002.
He said: "It's a lovely Group race to win with her. It was important with this filly to win her Group race. I think the logical progression will be to go for the Ribblesdale now. This filly is a late-maturing type and I think waiting for Royal Ascot is the prudent way to go.
"She will learn from today and I think as the year progresses, she will definitely be a Group One filly."
Dawn Approach is also Royal Ascot-bound after proving far too good for his rivals in the Fishery Lane Race. The 4-6 favourite had won on his debut at the Curragh in March and he barely came out of second gear as he cruised home in the hands of Kevin Manning.
Jim Bolger's charge had five and a half lengths to spare over Canary Row at the line, and his trainer said: "He is a smart horse. We have a choice of races for him now. I was originally thinking of the Chesham but Kevin said he could go anywhere and when he says that, they can go anywhere."