It's been a month to remember here at Rathbride Stables, saddling ten winners with nine individual horses, as well as recording trebles at two meetings.
We began the month with the first of those three-timers at Gowran, where Up Helly Aa ran out an impressive winner on his second start for the Niarchos family in the hands of Billy Lee. I'm delighted with how he's progressing and maturing, doing his mother Fiesolana proud, and it's possible he could line up in a winners' race at Killarney next.
An impressive win by Up Helly Aa at Gowran
I was really pleased for Come September's owners when the Roderic O'Connor filly made a winning debut on the same Gowran card, and she has since been sold to new connections. It was also great to see Arabeska be rewarded for her consistency and get off the mark in good style for the Imperial Crown Syndicate.
The same owners enjoyed a brilliant result when Nitro Boost won a three-year-old premier handicap at the Curragh under Nathan Crosse early in the month. She didn't put her best foot forward against older sprinters in the Rockingham Handicap since, but that may have been due to a sinus problem and we'll be hoping she can bounce back next time.
Having been proving frustrating for her owners, I was delighted to see Faerie Laws finally show the ability we knew she had when winning at Roscommon under Wayne Lordan. Fingers crossed she can kick on from that when getting some cut in the ground, potentially at Galway.
After having no luck with draws previously, Raffaello finally got the rub of the green at Gowran and it was great that he could take advantage to win well. He had to be tough to make it back-to-back wins at Leopardstown when turning out again quickly and we'll be hoping he can get the hat-trick up when getting an ease in the ground again. Killarney and Ballybrit are options for him.
Sweetest Taboo has been a great stalwart for the yard and to see her come home in front at Tipperary, where she won her maiden, in a first-time visor was a lovely reward for the hardy mare - Nathan gave her a very good ride.
That win started a treble on the card where Memyselfandmoi impressed in breaking her duck at the fourth attempt. Going left-handed seems to make a big difference to her and hopefully we can get some black type for this well-bred filly from Deerpark Stud.
I thought Killourney put up a very good performance to notch his second win in a row in a competitive handicap off a mark of 83, rounding off the treble. There's plenty to like about his attitude and I'm glad to see the horse delivering so well for Pat Grogan and the Rachra Partnership. He'll be entered at Navan next month.
It was unfortunate that Ickworth didn't get to show her ability as a result of an unlucky incident in the stalls before the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot. There was some commotion to the left of her in the gates and she reared when the stalls opened before coming down on her haunches. In hindsight, it may have worked out for the best as she had an unfavourable draw and soft ground wouldn't have played to her strengths, but that's racing. She looks an out and out five furlong filly on the basis of her run in the Group 2 Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh since.
Windham Belle was down the field in the same race but we're looking forward to the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend with her, where she'll have a lovely light weight. She's also eligible for the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Series races.
Elite Trooper Grey keeps bumping into good horses, including Irish Derby winner Sovereign last year at Galway, but he just doesn't seem to want to put his head in front. His latest second came at Limerick behind the Godolphin-owned Trossachs, who subsequently ran out a wide-margin winner of the Apprentice Derby for Jim Bolger. I think having our three-year-old gelded could bring out the best in him.
Yenillik had an excellent run at Tipperary behind Harpo Marx and he probably paid the price for taking on another Ballydoyle-trained colt Kangaroo Valley at the same track since. It transpired that Lethal Promise was in season when running below her best in the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes, and she can be angry when that's impacting her system.
Tipitena fared well in the Group 3 Munster Oaks before tiring late on and she didn't get a clear run when not beaten all that far in a decent-looking Curragh handicap since. We're aiming to get some black type for her and it's likely that we'll cross the Irish Sea in order to do so.
Royal Canford came home well and wasn't beaten all that far in good company at Leopardstown and looks one who could be suited to Galway, while Black Martini is a solid little filly who ran creditably in defeat when tackling in-form rivals twice this month. We'll be hoping to find the easiest five furlongs we can on rock-hard ground for her, and hopefully she can get her head in front again for Barbara Facchino and Barrouche Stud in Two Mile House.
There were positives to be taken from Innervisions' debut at the Curragh when third behind a couple of highly-regarded sorts. She's another daughter of Fiesolana and we're looking forward to running her in a maiden on safe ground in the coming weeks.
We feel we have sorted the little issue ailing Heavens Align recently and her Gowran run was a real step in the right direction. Here's hoping the best is yet to come from her. Waterlemon Bay raced a shade keenly but ran well in a first-time visor at Naas when fourth over a mile and a quarter.
Amelia Jane shaped with promise to finish fifth in a messy Limerick maiden and the runner-up has since won at Bellewstown. I'd imagine we'll give her some time to strengthen up in the paddock soon as she's a little weak at the moment, but we'll be looking forward to seeing her in nursery company later in the season for a syndicate from the Spout Bar in Kilcullen.
It's been a fantastic spell for us here at Rathbride and we're already looking forward to seeing plenty of promising young horses coming through on the track over the coming weeks. Here's hoping we can keep the ball rolling and have another fruitful run next month.