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Danny's the boy as super Haqeeba bags home win at Down Royal


By Ron McKnight

Haqeeba, trained at Newry by Liam Lennon, supplied a local victory at Down Royal last night with apprentice Danny Redmond aboard.

The winner was always to the fore from the stalls, while favourite Blastofmagic - who finished third - missed the break.

The local horse, despite carrying top weight, kept on gamely as the challengers closed in the sprint race.

Redmond said: "I didn't think she handled Navan - I said to come here. If she didn't get in here she would have gone to Ayr next week."

Kevin Manning partnered Twilight Payment, trained by his father-in-law Jim Bolger, to victory in the feature.

Twilight Payment was quietly ridden in second behind Light Pillar until asked for his effort at the elbow turning into the straight when he went clear.

Manning said: "He seems very sweet and better than ever. I was a little disappointed in the race last year (finished second) - he never really travelled for whatever reason.

"He's run some good races against proper horses without getting his head in front."

Odds-on favourite Bailly, trained by Ger Lyons and partnered by champion jockey Colin Keane, made hard work of confirming form with Sundance Star in the opener - the pair finishing 1-2.

Keane said: "She's improving with every run - she's a nice little filly."

Lyons added: "The Curragh Stakes is the next obvious target for her and she is going to be better with a year on her back.

"We are going the right way - onwards and upwards."

Leigh Roche was unseated from Kodi Dream at the road crossing but was able to walk to the ambulance and later went to hospital for x-rays.

The O'Brien brothers - Joseph and Donnacha - landed the EBF maiden with No Need Never.

The winner was produced at the furlong marker to overhaul leader Cruciatus and score easily.

The winner had been walked to the start after unseating his rider.

Donnacha O'Brien said: "He's a massive horse. He's still big and raw. Ascot probably came a bit quick for him - he wasn't mentally ready for it. He's a lovely horse that will keep improving."

The Pat Martin-trained Very Smart, with Killian Leonard in the saddle, sprang a 25/1 shock in the last strides to beat well supported favourite Caesar's Comet in the Magners Handicap.

Dylan Hogan partnered Sennockian Star to victory in the apprentice handicap - the winner, trained by Seamus Fahey, having his 108th start.

In the finale Cache Queen, with Ronan Whelan aboard, shot clear to score.


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