/ Racing

Chigun and Hitchens victorious at the Curragh

Updated: Saturday, 25 May 2013 18:46 | Comments

Chigun recorded the fourth win of his career in the Abu Dhabi Stakes at HQ
Chigun recorded the fourth win of his career in the Abu Dhabi Stakes at HQ

British raiders Chigun and Hitchens claimed the main races on the 2,000 Guineas undercard at the Curragh.

Henry Cecil's Chigun was sent off the 11-8 favourite for the Abu Dhabi Stakes after being short-headed on her reappearance at Newmarket, and her task was eased here with market rival Caponata withdrawn due to being in-season.

Although slightly flat-footed at the halfway stage, Tom Queally soon had her on an even keel and she joined La Collina moving sweetly before drawing two and three-quarter lengths ahead at the line.

Queally said: "She did it well, I had a moment's worry at halfway on the ground but she has enough class and is going the right way.

I'm glad she won the way she did as I didn't want to throw the kitchen sink at her on this ground.

"There's scope to keep on improving. It's great to come home and ride a winner."

Asked if Chigun could reach Group One level, with former stablemate Chachamaideee winning last year's Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, Queally said: "It would be bold of me to say either way, but I think she's heading in that direction."

Hitchens repeated his Weatherbys Greenlands Stakes win of two years ago under a fine ride from Johnny Murtagh.

Trained in North Yorkshire by David Barron, the eight-year-old got a nice tow into the race as Leitir Mor set just a reasonable gallop on the rail.

The leader gave way a furlong out and Murtagh's mount (13-2) showed a nice turn of foot to put the Group Three event to bed, scoring by a neck from Reply.

Murtagh said: "He quickened through well, I thought he was always going to win.

"The owners were very happy with him today, they said he was in good form. He didn't like Newmarket (seventh in a handicap last time out), coming down the hill there and the firm ground didn't suit him."

As well as winning the Guineas with Magician, Aidan and Joseph O'Brien have a juvenile of possible Royal Ascot quality in Coach House, who took the the Cold Move European Breeders Fund Marble Hill Stakes with plenty in hand.

A son of Oasis Dream, Coach House, the 4-6 favourite, was winning for the second time from three starts.

Aidan O'Brien said: "We thought he was a nice horse. He won nicely first time.

"He's a lovely two-year-old. He has speed enough for five so he has all the options at Royal Ascot.

"Joseph said he showed lots of speed and that he even got there a bit early on him. He'll maybe get six or seven furlongs in time."

Owner John Magnier said: "Maybe the five-furlong Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot would be a race for him."

There was a 33-1 shock in the equisoftlive.com European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden as Birdie collared O'Brien's 1-2 favourite Bye ByeBirdie.

Trainer Michael Halford said: "She has shown us plenty form the start at home. We do like her and she could go on to better things.

"We'll step her up into a Listed race at Naas (3 June). We wanted to get a nice introduction into her and she did well to win from where she was.

"Price doesn't matter to us, her owners are into breeding and we are not a punting yard."

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