TRAINER Ken Condon was back on home soil during the week and bagged a winner as well for good measure at Cork racecourse.
The Curragh-based trainer has a lovely bunch of horses right now with Miss Amulet likely to represent the Ballyhea native in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh.
This progressive filly travelled all the way to Paris for the French equivalent last weekend but the bottomless ground conditions left Condon with the tough decision to withdraw the horse on the morning of the race.
“It was frustrating to travel all the way over and withdraw but the skies opened for a couple of days which left the ground a lot heavier than we anticipated. The French Guineas was the plan for over six months but the weather is one thing we can’t control,” Condon said.
“We are optimistic about running at the Curragh as she is a progressive filly and looks a picture. Her performances during last summer certainly give her the right to run in a race like this.
“But it’s her seasonal debut and taking on the top yards in a Group 1 is a tall order. At the same time her form is rock solid so hopefully the ground doesn’t get too soft overnight.
“The ground staff do a brilliant job on all the courses here so we are very lucky in that regard.
“It was great to win during the week with Harmony Rose who won nicely. I always enjoy the journey home to north Cork and when patrons are on track it’s lovely to meet a few faces from Ballyhea.
“This horse had a couple of placed efforts and was pleasing us at home.
“She had two good runs and her Tipperary run has worked out and with Aidan’s horse winning earlier on, it augured well for her chances. Loveday set a good standard when second in a Listed race the last day and our filly is very straightforward, is honest and she tries.
“Shane (Foley) said she appreciated that bit of kindness in the ground, it was quite fast the last day. I’m nearly afraid to put the (measurement) stick on her, then we’ll know, but I think she’s only 14.3hh!
“She is strong with it though, has a good weight on the scales for the size of her and there is depth to her.
“There is a bit to back her up on pedigree and Shane was complimentary about her and said on similar ground she might get black-type along the way.
We’ll keep her rolling along for the early part of the season as she is precocious and we’ll take advantage of that strength.
“Her peers might catch up and pass her out over time but we’ll keep punting away with her.”
Condon is regarded as one of the great gentlemen of Irish racing and spent many years working with the great John Oxx on the Curragh.
Slowly but surely the quality of Condon’s yard increased and when Romanised landed the Irish 2000 Guineas in 2018 it put the trainer in the big league.
It has enjoyed plenty of success since and is enthusiastic about the season ahead.
“We have a few nice horses from last year and Teresa Mendoza ran well the last day at Cork and we hope to run her in a six furlong race at the Curragh in early June.
“We worked her on Tuesday so we think she has progressed nicely so we will look forward to that. Thunder Beauty was very disappointing in the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and we have no excuses really.
“She travelled into the race well but never finished out her race so it is back to the drawing board again with her. Laws Of Indices has had two runs in the spring and ran very well in a Guineas Trial under a penalty in a race which is working out very well.
“We like him and he is a very solid horse who is improving.”
With the Irish Guineas completed this weekend, the focus will then shift to Royal Ascot which really brings the best horses from all over Europe and America. Having runners good enough to take part is a challenge and Condon is keeping his targets open for a number of his horses.
“Miss Amulet and Laws of Indices will definitely go to Royal Ascot and we might have a couple of more entries depending on how they run over the next couple of weeks.
“Harmony Rose that won during the week at Cork will probably get an entry. It’s top-class racing over there and you really need a very good horse to win.
“Our horses are just beginning to find form after a slow start. We’ve had a couple of winners and a few placed horses so the omens are good.”