Verbal makes big impression

Jim Bolger, trainer of Verbal Dexterity

Verbal Dexterity looked a horse with enormous potential in waltzing to victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at the Curragh.

Jim Bolger's Group One-entered newcomer was sent off an 8-1 chance and was quickly away, before Kevin Manning opted to rein him in just behind the early pace.

Once allowed to stride on over a furlong out, the son of Vocalised streaked clear, putting nine and a half lengths between himself and runner-up Sebastiano Ricci, with Caffe Macchiato back in third.

Bolger was on his way to the Wexford versus Kilkenny hurling game, and his daughter, Una Manning, said: "We didn't think he would handle that ground and were worried about it.

"He's a nice horse with a big future."

Too Familiar showed her debut win was no fluke when getting up in the closing stages of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Race.

Johnny Murtagh's filly was a 20-1 chance when successful on her debut at Navan and looked in a spot of trouble as Gasta and Verhoyen battled it out in front a furlong from home.

Niall McCullagh found another gear on the 11-4 winner close home, though, as she charged past the pair in the final few strides, beating Gasta by half a length.

Murtagh said: "The plan was to hold on to her and ride her with confidence. She was still a bit green when she got to the front. I thought she would handle a bit of cut in the ground, but was a bit worried about conditions today.

"She is not in at Royal Ascot yet and we will wait and see. I always thought she was a six-furlong filly that would stay seven furlongs or a mile as a three-year-old.

"She is the best two-year-old we have and we have some nice ones. She's pretty smart."

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Silverkode produced a smart turn of foot when it mattered to score at the second attempt in the McDonnell's Bar Newbridge Supporting Junefest Maiden.

The strong-travelling favourite Snowstar looked in good shape as she led over a furlong out, with Silverkode appearing to be falling back.

However, once Gary Carroll asked Joe Murphy's 6-1 chance for maximum effort the response was impressive, as she flew down the outside to win by a length and a half.

Murphy said: "He's a nice horse but I didn't think he would handle the ground. He handled it better than I thought, and Gary said there is plenty of improvement in him.

"You needed a six-furlong horse in that ground, and we'll try to stick to three-year-old-only races. We have his half-sister who we picked up at the sales last year."

Son Of Rest produced a tremendous weight-carrying performance to finish a commanding winner of the Junefest Handicap.

The 4-1 favourite travelled powerfully for Chris Hayes and pulled clear with Patuano approaching the furlong pole.

Fozzy Stack's charge was carrying over two stone more than that rival, but even that impost could not hold him back as he got on top in the closing stages to score by a length and three-quarters.

Stack said: "That's his job – sprinting. It probably won't be soft enough at Ascot so he could go for the six-furlong Listed race (Belgrave Stakes) at the Curragh on Derby weekend."

Useful dual-purpose performer Tigris River won for the second time on the Flat, beating Zafayan by two and three-quarter lengths as the 4-1 joint-favourite in the Brady Burns Insurance Brokers Supporting Junefest Handicap.

Winning trainer Joseph O'Brien said of last season's Galway Hurdle fifth: "They went quick and the race fell into his lap a bit. Donnacha (O'Brien) gave him a lovely ride, and hopefully the handicapper won't be too hard on him.

"He will mix it between hurdles and the flat and will probably go to Galway. He will have a run somewhere before that."

Murtagh and McCullagh made it a double when Khudha powered clear of his rivals in the Jackie Tyrrell Design Supporting Junefest Handicap.

The 6-1 chance cut out the early running, and though his lead shrank approaching the two-furlong pole, he then found plenty in the closing stages to bound 12 lengths clear of Eagle Spirit.

Murtagh said: "I really fancied him today as he likes cut in the ground, and Niall said with his low weight that he would really stretch them.

"Niall felt when he got soft ground he would improve a lot and he was right. I think he's the type that will make a nice three-year-old hurdler."


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