Johnny Murtagh capped off a fantastic weekend when he piloted favored Again to a hard-fought neck victory in the Boylesports.com Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) at the Curragh May 24.
The victory also provided the Coolmore team with a Guineas double, following Mastercraftsman’s win on Saturday in the Boylesports.com Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I). The win was also a classic double for the Coolmore based sire, Danehill Dancer.
There was one notable difference with Again’s victory, however. David Wachman, the son-in-law of Coolmore's John Magnier, trains the bay filly for the Coolmore team. Though he has been training for over 12 years now, the victory in the Guineas was Wachman’s first in a classic.
“It’s great to win my first classic,” Wachman said afterwards. “She’s always been a nice horse, and I’m lucky to have her.”
Murtagh kept Again in mid-pack for much of the early going, as longshots Always Be True and Duaisbhanna disputed the lead. As the field of 16 fillies hit the three-furlong marker, Oh Goodness Me took the lead, with Murtagh hard at work aboard Again.
Lahaleeb, ridden by Declan McDonogh, took over with two furlongs to go and looked ready to draw off from the field. Again, under a hard drive by Murtagh, dug down and kept finding more, finally grabbing the lead 70 yards from the wire. She held on by a neck over a stubborn Lahaleeb.
Oh Goodness Me held on for third, 3 1/2 lengths further back. Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:46.34 over a course listed as heavy.
Owned by Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier, Again was bred in Ireland by Southern Bloodstock. She is out of the unraced Kahyasi mare, Cumbres, a half-sister to multiple champion and leading sire Montjeu.
Dermot Weld Trainees Finish 1-2 in Gold Cup
In the race immediately preceding the Guineas, Casual Conquest went to the lead at the start and never looked back as he rolled to a 5 1/2-length victory over stablemate Famous Name in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I). The victory provided trainer Dermot Weld with a sweep of the top two placings in the race.
The Gold Cup win was the first group I victory for Casual Conquest, who was placed in both the Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) in 2008. The 4-year-old son of Hernando was most recently second in the stanjames.com Jockey Club Stakes (Eng-II) at Newmarket on May 2.
Lush Lashes, a multiple group I winner for trainer Jim Bolger, got up for third, three-quarters of a length behind Famous Name. Final time for the ten furlongs was 2:26.45 over the heavy going.
Casual Conquest has the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) as his main target this year. “The Arc will be his target in the second half of this year,” Weld told reporters after the race. “It's the one race Mr. Haefner (owner of Moyglare Stud) would love to win and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to try and win the Arc for him.”
Casual Conquest, who races as a homebred for Moyglare Stud, is out of the winning Kris mare, Lady Luck. His third dam, Irish Edition, produced 1990 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Go And Go, and is a half-sister to grade I winner, Twilight Agenda.