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Odds-on favourite Maarek suffers surprise defeat at Cork

Updated: Sunday, 16 Jun 2013 19:50 | Comments

Maarek suffered a surprise defeat at Cork
Maarek suffered a surprise defeat at Cork

There was a huge turn up in the Midsummer Sprint Stakes at Cork as Cape Of Approval got the better of the long odds-on favourite Maarek.

A long way behind Maarek at Naas in April, the Tommy Stack-trained winner travelled noticeably better than the favourite throughout the race under Billy Lee.

Maarek came to this event rather than Royal Ascot as he had his favoured soft ground and was sent off the 4-11 market leader.

However, he never looked especially happy at any stage and despite wearing down Zoola inside the final furlong, Lee had yet to play his hand and quickened up smartly in the bad ground to win well.

The winner was having his fourth race at Cork and was winning for the third time.

Fozzy Stack, assistant to his father, said: "He loves it here. He did it well and Billy said he was going to let Maarek make his run first and hope that he pulled himself up in front.

"Maarek seemed to hit a flat spot at halfway and he did it well in the end.

"He's in the Wokingham on Saturday and he'll probably go up a lot for that so he might be well-in, but he'll need a lot of rain (to run). His front legs are tricky so he needs a good dig."

Midnight Soprano provided apprentice jockey Marc Monaghan with the biggest moment of his fledgling career when prevailing in a tight finish to the Cork Racecourse Mallow Noblesse Stakes.

The Paul Deegan-trained mare (5-1) enjoyed a fantastic time last season and began in the same winning form to win her first Group Three.

A soft-ground specialist, the rain fell in time for the six-year-old, who has a verdict over John Oxx's Saddler's Rock on her record.

Ralph Beckett's Cubanita hit the front and looked likely to score before Magical Dream laid down a strong challenge.

Midnight Soprano challenged fast and late, however, as Monaghan delivered his challenge right on the line, beating Magical Dream by a head.

Deegan may now consider a crack at the Irish St Leger later in the year for his stable star.

He said: "She did better over this winter than any before. Jim (Monaghan, winning owner) did a great job with her. She's a lot stronger now.

"Jim is very patient and he's a great stock man.

"The plan this year was to win a Group Three.

"We'll look at the Curragh Cup now and hopefully she'll finish up in the Irish St Leger.

"She was off the bridle early enough today but Marc gave her a lovely ride and he's a very level-headed lad.

"A mile and a half to a mile and six is her trip and I'd say this will probably be her last season."

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