Although we've been hitting the crossbar plenty this month, I've been delighted to see so many of our runners performing well in defeat.
We were very happy with how our two fillies ran in the Listed Woodlands Stakes at Naas over five furlongs, especially considering they were up against highly-rated sprinters.
It wouldn't be the usual target for a 70-rated filly, but Tammy Wynette is in-foal to Starspangledbanner and her owner Frank Fahy is hoping to pick up some blacktype before she retires. She finished an excellent fifth, earning a 15lb rise in the ratings to bring her to a mark of 85. That was her second start of the month, having finished a fine third at Leopardstown previously, and her cut-off point for racing is mid-June. It's likely she'll line up in the Listed Sole Power Stakes at Naas on 19 May.
I thought there were definite positives to be taken from Nitro Boost's run in the same race when not beaten all that far in seventh and I'm hopeful that as she learns her trade with more experience, she can develop into a smart sprinter. She has options in the UK later in the season for the Imperial Crown Syndicate, but right now we've entered her in the Listed Polonia Stakes at Cork on 10 May.
Guinevere, by Camelot, has improved nicely from two to three and I was very pleased with her comeback run at Leopardstown behind an Aga Khan filly who finished third in the Navan Listed race won by Pink Dogwood. Here's hoping our filly can get off the mark over a mile and a quarter on good ground for owner-breeders Ballygallon Stud.
Elite Trooper Grey went up 2lb for a good second to a Ballydoyle-trained colt, who holds an Epsom Derby entry, on his seasonal reappearance on soft ground at Leopardstown. He was raised another 2lb for finishing third at Clonmel since and hopefully he can get off the mark when getting some ease in the ground for his owner Zhang Yuesheng.
I’m expecting Bongiorno to step forward plenty for her return in the Listed Noblesse Stakes at Cork and I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran better in the Vintage Tipple at Gowran next month, albeit she could improve for stepping up in trip later. Frank Fahy’s Tipitena ran a blinder when taking a big step up in class in the same race at Cork, having placed in a couple of maidens last October, and hopefully with that run under her belt she can be very competitive in maiden company at least.
I thought Granularity, who is owned by Kirsten Rausing, ran a lovely race at Clonmel when second to Noel Meade's Encapsulation on her first turf start and the winner got within half a length of the Epsom Oaks favourite Pink Dogwood in a Listed race at Navan since. Deerpark Stud's Memyselfandmoi finished behind Granularity at Clonmel but can hopefully show the benefit of that experience next time, having raced a little keenly.
The Rachra Partnership’s Killourney has now run respectably in two maidens won by useful-looking Juddmonte colts. I’m hopeful our Zoffany gelding can step forward from his Cork seasonal return to be competitive next time.
You’d have to be very happy with how Faerie Laws ran on her handicap debut at Gowran when staying on nicely to chase home the progressive Meryems Way over seven furlongs. She seemed to handle the little bit of an ease in the ground.
I think the seven furlong maiden that Raffaello finished midfield in at Gowran on 9 April was quite a decent race, with plenty of promising types towards the front end. He was still playing a part in proceedings inside the final two furlongs at Navan over a mile and a quarter on his handicap debut before getting tired, which is understandable at a testing track like that.
Godolphin’s Chamrousse has some smart form in maidens from last season and plenty counted against her on seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown behind I Am Superman, who has bolted up in a valuable Naas handicap since. That winner benefited from staying out of trouble towards the front, whereas our filly didn’t always have daylight when trying to improve from behind in testing conditions. We’ll be trying our best to find her a winning opportunity this season.
Two-year-olds Windham Belle and Mogwli were unfortunate to be drawn towards the wrong side at Naas on debut and I’m hopeful they can show better next time. The draw bias also meant that Arabeska was really up against it from stall 20 on her first run of the season, but she did extremely well to finish eighth of 20 in a race where the winner looks smart, and the fifth and sixth have won maidens since. Our filly flew home at Dundalk on her next start only to just be beaten in a photo and hopefully her turn will come soon.
I thought Yenillik made an encouraging debut at Tipperary for John Connaughton and Michael Ryan's Annie Pender also ran with promise at Cork. She should be a lot sharper next time out in a median auction fillies' maiden. Amelia Jane was on the backfoot after missing the break on debut at Naas but ran respectably considering her inexperience in what looked a decent maiden.
So Long Marianne wasn’t disgraced on either of her starts this year and as she comes down the handicap, I’m hopeful that we can find a race for her to get her head back in front again. We rode her more forwardly last time at Limerick when Thiswaycadeaux ran a blinder, only just getting touched off by one that snuck in as the first reserve. That was her second start of the season, having finished a fine third at Gowran earlier this month.
She ran below her best at the same track on apprentice Peter Kavanagh's final ride before he sits his Leaving Cert exams, but this mare loves a cut in the ground and if we get any rain over the summer she can hopefully continue to give us plenty more good days.
With the ground on the soft side at Gowran, Peshkova’s stamina was probably pushed a shade too far when getting tired late on over seven furlongs. She never got a clear run in a big field on her first start of the season at Navan and she deserves a change of luck.
We don't generally have many bumper runners but More Lies Ahead ran well on testing ground at Tramore when third to a Willie Mullins-trained winner on his debut. Boughtinthedark didn’t put his best foot forward at Tipperary but will be more at home in handicaps.
Fingers crossed we can turn plenty of our good placed efforts into winners over the coming weeks.