Jessica Harrington won both Listed events on Navan's eight-race card and can never have been as unruffled waiting for the judges’ verdict as in the aftermath of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Salsabil Stakes.
The Moone handler looked to have landed the spoils when Shane Foley pushed One Voice to the lead inside the two-furlong pole, but a run from the clouds by 10-1 stablemate Silence Please left the matter in considerable doubt before the outsider got the verdict.
Unbeaten in two runs over seven furlongs as a two-year-old, the daughter of Gleneagles needed every inch of the 10-furlong trip, sprouting wings to just catch One Voice (16-5).
"She’s turned into a grand filly this year. I won on her first time in Gowran in an auction race and she’s done very well over the winter," said Madden.
"Jessie said to give her a chance early, sit behind the pace and have one go at them out of the dip. They went nice and even and she came home really well.
"It was only her third run. Going forward, I’d say a mile and a half would be no problem the way she settles and relaxes and travels. Hopefully, it’ll be an exciting year for the filly."
It was the most prestigious success of Madden's career and significant for Harrington’s number two rider, having lost his claim at the end of 2019.
"First year without the claim is going to be tough, but I was always told keep the head down, keep your mouth shut, keep doing what you’re told, work hard and hopefully things will work out," the winning jockey added.
Foley was on the right side of a head-bobber in the next, this time holding on with Ancient Spirit (10-3JF) in the Heritage Stakes over a mile.
Front-running tactics paid handsome dividends throughout the day and Ancient Minds was ahead within a furlong of exiting the stalls. Foley kept a lid on the keen-travelling five-year-old well and kicked for home two out.
Joseph O’Brien’s Buckhurst (4-1) came with a late rally under Wayne Lordan and though falling just short, connections will be pleased looking ahead to his middle-distance targets later in the year. Trais Fluors (7-1) was third.
"I stayed out wide for the first furlong and a half just to make sure nothing was gonna rush down his outside" explained Foley.
"He’s an aggressive horse. I never ride him at home. He’s not simple and Seanie (Byrne) does a great job on him, but he’s a lot of ability. I wasn’t sure about the ground and he leaned a bit right, but I think that’s him, he’s quirky.
"We like our lad and going forward that’s probably the trip for him, with a little bit more juice in the ground."
Ger Lyons and Colin Keane won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden with the well-educated debutant Frenetic (11-4F), as she bounced out of an inside berth to make all.
The daughter of Kodiac never saw another rival and was not extended in prevailing by a length and three-quarters.
Aidan O’Brien has taken the covers off a number of smart prospects since racing resumed in Ireland on Monday, and the champion trainer unleashed another likely contender for top juvenile prizes in cosy Irish Stallion Farms EBF (C & G) Maiden victor Chief Little Hawk (7-2).
An early representative of Air Force Blue’s first two-year-old crop, the winner possesses much of his sire’s precocity and while he has much to do to match his sire’s debut campaign - one that yielded three Group One successes - there was a lot to like about this pillar-to-post debut victory.
You’resobeautiful (13-8F) was another all-the-way winner in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden for three-year-olds, with Chris Hayes doing the steering on the Fozzy Stack filly.
Foley registered the first leg of his double in the second division of the Navan Handicap, galvanising a late run from the Ger O’Leary-conditioned Blastofmagic (4/1F).
It was lucky 13 for Boughtinthedark (16-1), who belied her inability to score in a dozen previous outings with a very comfortable triumph in the Navan Handicap’s first division. Joe Doyle never had a moment’s concern on Denis Hogan’s charge, who had four and a quarter lengths to spare at the line.
The racing concluded with Mutadaawel (20-1) being navigated brilliantly by jockey Conor McGovern from a wide berth in the Proudstown Handicap and then showing a fantastic attitude to score for trainer Anthony McCann.
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