THE Johnny Murtagh-trained Measure Of Magic lit up yesterday evening’s flat meeting at Cork by destroying the opposition in the Goffs Irish EBF Polonia Stakes, a listed race over an extended five furlongs for three-year-old fillies.
Measure Of Magic, who finished an excellent third in last year’s Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, supplemented her facile success in the Committed Stakes at Navan just 12 days earlier by getting into a lovely rhythm with Ben Coen and the well-supported market-leader took command from over a furlong out. While soon briefly drifting left-handed, Measure Of Magic was in a totally different league to her rivals and she duly beat Russian River by a hard-held three and a quarte lengths.
“I entered her for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and I think we we’ll give her a go now and go straight there,“ said Murtagh of Measure of Light, owned by his own JP Murtagh Racing Club.
Jim Bolger, fresh from his Classic success with Poetic Flare in last weekend’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, continued his explosive form by sending out Strapped to spring a 16/1 surprise with stable jockey Kevin Manning in the Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden for two-year-olds over five furlongs.
Strapped, who shares his sire Dawn Approach with the aforementioned Poetic Flare, stepped up from his sixth-placed debut effort on the all-weather at Dundalk last month by breaking smartly from stalls and the physically imposing bay asserted inside the final furlong to see off Amalfi Coast by two and a half lengths.
Jockey Manning reported: ”He is a nice horse that was very, very green at Dundalk. He has progressed and came forward from that run. He is a strong type that has plenty of pace and he will get further in time.“
Dermot Weld, having captured the Chester Cup with Falcon Eight earlier in the afternoon, kept his domestic supporters happy by winning the €80,000 Mallow Handicap with Hightimeyouwon. In a driving three-way finish, Hightimeyouwon held on admirably to deny Fil The Power by a head. Hightimeyouwon was partnered by Mikey Sheehy with the Graignamanagh native’s elder brother Danny Sheehy incidentally partnering runner-up Fil The Power.
There was yet another pulsating finish in the Follow Us On Instagram Handicap with the David Marnane-trained Jm Barrie, who was recording an initial career success at the 19th attempt, hitting the front literally on the line for Oisin Orr to eclipse Navorrosse by a short head with a similar margin back to Tipperary Moon in third.
Handler Ken Condon got off the mark for the season by winning the Cork Maiden over five furlongs with the previously once-raced Quarantine Dreams. The blinkered Quarantine Dreams arrived from mid-division to pick up the running on entering the final furlong and the son of Make Believe strode clear from over 50 yards out for Billy Lee to defeat outsider Jon Riggens by a widening two and three quarter lengths.
Condon reported: He was gelded after he disappointed us on his debut at Dundalk. We fitted blinkers here and he won the way that he has been working. I don’t know where we will go next, but he will get an extra furlong for sure."
Billy Lee went on to complete a 51/1 double when the Paddy Twomey-trained newcomer Castletownbere, a grey that’s owned by Louis Walshe from Co Waterford, made his way to the fore in the shadow of the post on the inner to beat odds-on favourite Hms Seahorse by a nose in what was the actual closest finish of the evening.
Sam Ewing is fast making a name for himself and the Co Antrim native teamed up with his boss Ger Lyons to capture the Racing Again Tomorrow Apprentice Handicap aboard Hale Bopp. The three-year-old Hale Bopp, an £80,000 yearling purchase, moved through to assume command inside the final furlong to dispose of favourite Overheer by two lengths.