27 August 2023

Ocean’s quest proves successful at Naas

27 August 2023

Ocean Quest showed her class when storming to Tally-Ho Stud Irish EBF Ballyogan Stakes at Naas.

Jessica Harrington’s speedy daughter of Sioux Nation was an impressive winner of the Committed Stakes at Navan on her three-year-old return and following a narrow defeat over course and distance in the Lacken Stakes, performed with real credit at Royal Ascot when fourth to Shaquille in the Commonwealth Cup.

Freshened up following that outing at the Royal meeting, Ocean Quest was the 10-11 favourite to secure Group Three honours, something she did with the minimum of fuss.

Away well in the hands of Shane Foley, she was always forcing the pace on the far side and came home in splendid isolation to record a decisive three-and-three-quarter-length victory over Aussie Girl who finished best of those on the near side.

Paddy Power handed winner was handed quotes of 12-1 from 16s for Haydock’s Betfair Sprint Cup on September 9 and the same price from 18-1 for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Ascot, October 21), with Harrington indicating both Group One races would be on Ocean Quest’s radar.

“That’s great. She hasn’t run since Ascot, we gave her time. We know she likes a bit of give in the ground and that’s why we put her away after Ascot,” said Harrington.

“I think she’ll go on anything actually and she’s a very classy filly.

“Ascot in October is the main target and she’s in at Haydock in the Group One sprint there.

“We didn’t put her in Irish Champions Weekend because it’s five furlongs, but apparently she gets a free entry now. If it came up heavy maybe.

“This summer we’ve had no idea what ground we’re going to get. You can have good to firm in the morning and abandoned in the afternoon.

“We know she goes on heavy, she’s won on heavy and she’s gone on good to firm so she’s a very versatile filly. She’s classy and speedy.”

There was earlier success for Harrington on the card when Matter Of Fact landed the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at 22-1.

The daughter of No Nay Never was well held on debut earlier in the season, but showed how much she has flourished in the interim with a stylish display which brings loftier targets into the picture.

“That was nice. She ran in May and has grown an awful lot since then,” said Harrington.

“Nathan (Crosse) said when she was in behind she was behind the bridle, whether it was the kickback or what. It wasn’t until he pulled her out that she absolutely flew up the hill.

“She did it well. She was still very green and she’ll have learned a lot, which is great.

“I’d say she could step up in trip but the dam only got six, even though she’s by Galileo. She has got a beautiful pedigree.

“My two-year-olds are only just starting to come to themselves. They were all good in the spring and then they all started growing. She was small in May but now she’s a fine big filly.

“We’ll see what comes up and see where we go from here. I’d hope we’d be going for stakes race next. She’s got the pedigree and she’s done that well.

“I’d say it was a good maiden, my other filly didn’t seem to get home.”

There was a shock in the opening Irish EBF Median Sires Series Fillies Maiden when Kitty Rose denied Dermot Weld’s 11-10 favourite Tannola.

Sent off at 25-1, Natalia Lupini’s filly made the perfect start, travelling powerfully on the front-end and running on strongly to score by a length and three-quarters.

The trainer’s partner Craig Bryson said: “We were hoping for a nice run but you never know first time out.

“She’s a filly that we’ve liked a lot at home, she did it well and she’ll progress plenty. She’s big and she’s a nice filly.

“She likes to go forward, she likes to gallop and I’d imagine as you step her up in trip she’ll be better. She’s one to look forward to.

“I’ll talk to the lads but we might look at the Ingabelle Stakes at Leopardstown, that might suit her. If she comes out of it well that’s probably the race to go for.

“We had a filly (Highly Desirable) that was third in this race last year and went on to finish third in the Ingabelle. You’d be happy to go and take your chance in it and hopefully get black type.”

The afternoon’s other two-year-old contest went the way of Joseph O’Brien’s McTenett who justified 9-4 favouritism in the Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden.

“He had a nice run the first day and he learned a good bit, he was more professional today. He looks like a nice horse going forward,” said O’Brien.

“We were happy that he’d get the six up here well. It was a nice straightforward ride by Dylan and it’s nice to have a winner for Neil (Sands) and the Bronsan team.

“There is plenty of money in those auction races and there is a winners race in Roscommon in early September.”

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