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Brave scores for Palmer

Home Of The Brave (7-2) capped an amazing weekend for trainer Hugo Palmer by making all the running in the Friarstown Stud Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh.

Less than 24 hours after Covert Love gave the Newmarket handler his first Classic triumph in the Darley Irish Oaks, Home Of The Brave took Group Three honours.

James Doyle dictated affairs on the European Free Handicap winner, who had run with credit in the both the 2000 Guineas and Commonwealth Cup.

The opposition had no answer when Doyle kicked on two furlongs out as Home Of The Brave pulled away to score by three and a half lengths from Group One performer Gordon Lord Byron, the 7-4 favourite.

Another British raider Sovereign Debt, trained by Dandy Nicholls, was third.

Palmer said: "I thought he'd win, but I didn't quite think he'd win like that.

"He's a very immature horse and that's why he was so lightly raced at two. He always showed he was a horse with amazing speed from Christmas as a yearling. He was terrifyingly quick.

"Andrea, my head girl, has been a huge part in his upbringing teaching him to settle. He did that perfectly today. He went down like a lamb, came back like a lamb and quickened away from them.

"He's the second Group-winning son of Starspangledbanner from 27 foals. I'd expect he'll cover more mares now and he'll be able to upgrade what he is as a stallion.

"The Hungerford Stakes would look the obvious next target. There is the Prix Maurice de Gheest but that might be his Group One for next year.

"We thought after the Guineas that he was a sprinter, but that might just have come a bit quick after the Free Handicap. He was cherry ripe for that.

"He was sixth and ran very well in the Guineas but he's maybe actually a bit better than that. I was impressed with how he saw out the seven and wouldn't rule out returning to a mile.

"He's a lightly-framed horse and will be much stronger next year."

Willie McCreery's Champagne Or Water (8-1) warded off Gallope to take the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap by three-quarters of a length under Billy Lee.

"I was delighted to see the rain yesterday. The front two pulled well away," said McCreery.

"I thought she might be too big a filly for Galway but the way she fought on there, the hill might suit her.

Pat Smullen, who guided Covert Love home in the Irish Oaks, continued his good run with victory on Digeanta (2-1 favourite) for Willie Mullins in the O'Brien's Wines Handicap.

"Everything worked out perfectly for him as they went hard from the start," said Smullen.

"They went very quick and set it up for him as he always keeps galloping. That's all he's been lacking is pace like that in his races."

Apprentice Daniel Redmond, who is attached to the Bolger stable, took the concluding Waxperts Fillies Maiden on Diamond Rio (12-1) for trainer Tony Mullins.

"I'm delighted and I'll see what mark she gets before deciding if we go for a winners of one or a handicap. We're planning to step up in trip anyway," said Mullins.


From Belfast Telegraph