Sharp Inis swoops at Limerick
Inis Meain secured a deserved success at Listed level in the feature Martin Molony Stakes at Limerick.
Runner-up to Parish Hall in the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh on his last start, Denis Hogan's progressive six-year-old was sent off a 15-8 chance and had far too many guns for Missunited when it mattered most.
Kevin Manning allowed the free-running An Saincheann (9-10 favourite) to take a commanding lead, but she was easily brushed aside by Inis Meain along the home straight and Danny Mullins' mount extended his advantage a furlong and a half from home. He was not unduly pressured by the runner-up.
Owner Barry Connell said: "We'll get our top hats out now because the plan from here is to run at Royal Ascot. The Wolferton Stakes on Gold Cup day is on his agenda and hopefully he won't get anything for winning this as he appeared to run to his mark. We thought coming here that the track, ground and trip suited.
"He was very unlucky when he fell in the Boylesports Hurdle at Leopardstown as it seemed to affect him mentally and he didn't seem happy over hurdles after. He'll be kept going in those Listed races now though and probably won't return to hurdling as he is good enough at this job."
Aidan O'Brien's newcomer Expedition seemed to be going nowhere when last into the straight in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, but the youngster (11-4) finally got the hang of it in the hands of Seamie Heffernan and mowed the opposition down approaching the furlong marker before grabbing leader Ruler Of France to score by a neck.
The winning jockey said: "He was green rather than being outpaced and when the penny dropped he came home well."
Pat Shanahan looked to have found the perfect opportunity for Hold The Line in the Greenmount Median Auction Maiden, and so it proved. Tadhg O'Shea, riding his first winner in his new job, went straight to the front on the 4-11 favourite, who ran on strongly in the final stages to keep Durand at bay by three and a half lengths.
The winning trainer said: "It's about time he won. He was second in two maidens, but they probably weren't too bad. He will improve as the season goes on as he is a big horse. He will be better on better ground and he looks a mile-and-a-quarter type horse."
Michael Hussey was exuding confidence on Zeftan coming to the final furlong of the Great Limerick Run Maiden and Peter McCreery's 7-2 shot quickened nicely into the lead before holding Conan's Rock by half a length.