Layfayette gives Noel Meade his first success in the Mooresbridge Stakes

High Definition was expected to pose a serious challenge but came home fourth

Monday, May 02, 2022

Layfayette continued his ascent to the top by producing a flying finish to win the Group 2 Coolmore Sottsass Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh on Monday, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.

Unbeaten so far this season for Noel Meade, the five-year-old made it a hat-trick of wins, after a smart burst saw him move from the last to first, and finish clear of the improving Bear Story in second and Visualisation in third.

For the second time in a month Aiden O’Brien’s High Definition went off favourite with the bookmakers ahead of Layfayette in the perfect conditions, with jockey Chris Hayes picking up the win.

The Ger Lyons trained Licence was also only narrowly beaten by Layfayette at Naas in March, but was unable to get close to the eventual winner this time around, finishing down in seventh.

After the win Meade, who won this contest for the first time, was undecided on Layfayette's future.

He said: "He’s not in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, but we’ll have to think about supplementing him for it now. He certainly deserves a place in it.

"He’s in the Hardwicke and that is a possibility. He’s improving all the time and he was very good.

"As Chris said he nearly got there too soon. He’s beaten the same horses again but has beaten them better and I thought he travelled better today.

"We still think a mile and a half wouldn’t be a problem.

"It would be an expensive call to put him in it (Tattersalls Gold Cup), but we’ll decide closer to the time."

Despite the disappointment for O’Brien in the Mooresbridge, he didn’t leave the Curragh empty-handed, picking up three winners. 

This included the Group 3 contest, the Coolmore Stud Circus Maximus Irish EBF Athasi Stakes, where 2-1 favourite Twilight Spinner came home strongly on the outside to notch a comfortable win.

There was never any real doubt once jockey Shane Crosse found room to move through the gears, but a solid run from the American filly Cigamia saw her come home second.

O’Brien said: “It was a good performance. We were thinking of running her in the Greenlands.

“But she has been shaping as though she was crying out to go up to seven furlongs. You would have to say that probably looks her trip now."

Earlier in the day, the First Flier Stakes saw Blackbeard edge a thrilling finish to take the five furlong contest.

The Ballydoyle colt was given a stern test by recent Cork winner Crispy Cat who looked to have the race sewn up heading into the closing stages. 

But it was O’Brien’s two-year-old who just had enough to get his head in front after an expert ride from former British champion jockey Ryan Moore.

And the Champion Trainer also tasted success in the Coolmore Arizona Irish EBF Tetrarch Stakes, where Buckaroo produced a masterclass after moving back down to a mile.

The favourite travelled smoothly throughout with Crosse in the saddle, never looking in any real trouble and eventually winning by four lengths from second placed Wexford Native.

Buckaroo's return to winning way could see him now go down the 2,000 Guineas route.

O'Brien said: "He looks like an Irish Guineas horse. He’s a big, strong, powerful horse and has quite a laid-back attitude. I discussed it with Sheikh Fahad and we decided to come here and find out if he was a Guineas horse.

"I see him as more of an eight to 10-furlong horse than a 10 to 12-furlong horse. He seems to be versatile ground-wise."

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