Ambivalent seals Irish success for Varian

Johnny Murtagh is all smiles after winning on Ambivalent at Curragh. Picture: PA
Johnny Murtagh is all smiles after winning on Ambivalent at Curragh. Picture: PA
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Ambivalent gave Newmarket trainer Roger Varian his first Group 1 success in Ireland with a gritty performance in the Oxigen Environment Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh yesterday.

The four-year-old filly made most of the running in the hands of Johnny Murtagh and fended off all-comers to land the spoils. After seeing off the challenge of the always-prominent Harasiya, Ambivalent (10-1) kept on grimly to defeat the Aidan O’Brien-trained Was by half a length.

“It was the plan (to make the running). We’ve held her up in the past,” said Varian. “She ran very well in the Middleton at York (second to Dalkala) but they didn’t go very quick, and we held her up at Haydock and they didn’t go quick there either and she was keen.

“I said to Johnny she stays well so there was nothing to lose sending her forward and being positive. I was sure she’d keep going, she’s very tough.

“That’s my first Group 1 in Ireland and I love coming here. It was a brilliant ride from Johnny, he was very good.”

O’Brien may have had to settle for second place in the feature race but he enjoyed a treble with Bye Bye Birdie, Beach Of Falesa and Ernest Hemingway.

The success of Beach Of Falesa in the Ladies Derby was a real family affair for the O’Briens as the 8-1 shot is owned by his wife Anne-Marie and was giving their daughter Sarah a first winner.

The young amateur brought the top-weight with a rattling run on the outside to storm past Eighteen Summers to win by two lengths.

A proud father said: “That’s great, I’m delighted – that’s a special one. It was a great chance for her to come here so it’s a massive day. It’s a special weekend, unbelievable.”

O’Brien’s second string Ernest Hemingway changed the script with an emphatic win in the At The Races Curragh Cup, earning a 14-1 quote from Paddy Power for next year’s Ascot Gold Cup. The 12-1 shot, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, came from way back to slam Royal Diamond by five lengths with O’Brien’s other runner El Salvador only fourth.

O’Brien’ son Joseph was on board as Bye Bye Birdie (9-2) made all in the Grangecon Stud Stakes. Having her third run in a two-week period and last seen finishing 12th in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Oasis Dream filly was sporting a first-time visor and never saw another rival in the six-furlong Group 3event.

Australia, O’Brien’s highly-touted newcomer, was unlucky not to make a winning debut in the Barronstown Stud European Breeders Fund (C & G) Maiden. The even-money favourite lost several lengths at the start yet went down by a neck to the Jim Bolger-trained Renaissance Art (10-1).

On Saturday, Trading Leather provided Bolger with the best day of his illustrious career as he took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

The 6-1 shot, ridden by Kevin Maning, was stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time, but got the better of David Wachman’s Galileo Rock by a length and three-quarters.



2.30 Tapis Libre

3.00 Rufford

3.30 Huffoof

4.00 Midnight Dynamo

4.30 Astrum

5.00 Noble Deed

5.30 Lord Franklin.


2.15 Eastern Dragon

2.45 Above The Stars

3.15 Ocean Storm

3.45 Light From Mars

4.15 White Month

4.45 Bantam

5.15 Opus Maximus (NB)

5.45 Adorable Choice.

Ffos Las

6.15 Gaelic Ice

6.45 Dodger Marley

7.15 If I Had Him (nap)

7.45 Wyndham Wave

8.15 Cruiser

8.45 Sand Boy

9.15 Steel Rain


6.00 Prisca

6.30 Paradise Spectre

7.00 Realize

7.30 Evangelist

8.00 Choral Festival

8.30 On With The Dance

9.00 Magistral


If I Had Him

7:15 Ffos Las



5:15 Wolverhampton