Stormfly passes Trial test
Stormfly made full use of her race-fitness as she powered to an emphatic victory for the in-form Dermot Weld-Pat Smullen combination in the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes.
Smullen barely had an anxious moment as the filly (4-1 joint-favourite), blinkered for the first time, pulled clear in the final furlong to score by three and three-quarter lengths from Devonshire.
Military Angel was third, while Kevin Ryan's British raider Calypso Beat had no more to give in the final furlong after setting the pace.
"She had to battle hard to win on her previous start and was a very fit filly coming here. She just did enough last time but obviously progressed," said Weld, whose charge was coming off victory in the Madrid Handicap at the Curragh last time.
"She handles the ground well and quickened nicely. She was always a good filly and was stakes-placed last year.
"We'll maybe look at the French Guineas. She's tough and genuine, she idles a bit and is a lazy filly. She only does what she has to. She's the sort of filly that could suit that sort of race.
"She has a wonderful temperament and is really laid back. The blinkers just make her concentrate."
Weld and Smullen initiated their four-timer when 4-6 favourite Zannda dug deep to land the 10-furlong Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, though the once-raced Azamour filly had to work hard to get the better of Ryan Moore on Wedding Vow.
The latter had quickened to lead off the bend, but Smullen was alive to the move, and while Wedding Vow proved very difficult to pass, the market leader just got the better of the argument close home, prevailing by half a length.
Weld said of his Irish Oaks-entered winner: "It was a tight battle and two jockeys riding at their very best. They are two brilliant riders and will give us plenty of entertainment in the coming year.
"She's a nice filly and did her job, did what we expected her to do. She'll appreciate better ground and will hopefully make a lovely filly over a mile and a half as the year progresses. I always wanted this race for her. I see her as a progressive filly and definitely a stakes filly. She's a magnificent, lovely, big filly. She has size and scope."
Zafayan (11-4 favourite) gave the duo a near 222-1 four-timer when landing the Leopardstown Club 25 Membership Handicap. The four-year-old, sporting first-time blinkers, asserted in the final furlong to score cosily from Kabjoy.
Weld said: "He's a very fit horse and I thought he'd be hard to beat. He loves that ground. He's been very consistent and has run three seconds in his three runs over hurdles. He was balloted out of the Fred Winter (at Cheltenham) and I thought he'd run a very big race in that. He was trained for that."