Friendly caused a 33/1 shock for Aidan O’Brien in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cooley Fillies Stakes at Dundalk this evening, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Coral All-Weather Fillies & Mares Championships at Newcastle on Finals Day.
Having travelled strongly in mid-division under Wayne Lordan, Friendly improved into a share of third as the 14 runners fanned out at the top of the straight. The daughter of Galileo delivered her challenge on the outside of Oodnadatta approaching the final furlong and stayed on well to win by two and a half lengths.
In a bunched finish for the places, two-time Cooley Fillies Stakes winner Surrounding was second, with So I Told You a nose further back in third. The 100/30 favourite River Eden finished sixth.
This was Friendly’s 13th start of the campaign, during which she has won a Bellewstown maiden and twice competed at the highest level, most notably when sixth in the G1 Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh in May.
Lordan said: “It has been a while [between wins] but, on that run in the Guineas, I guess she was entitled to win tonight as she wasn’t beaten far that day.
“The ground was very deep the last day in Naas and she struggled a bit when I let her down, whereas today she skipped around there on the All-Weather.
“I travelled very well and was just cautious about getting to the front too soon because she can be a bit lairy when she gets there. Thankfully, she won well.
“She is a very well-bred filly and this is another feather in her cap before going to the breeding sheds. Hopefully, she can breed something special.”