I Can Fly and Playa Del Puente star at Dundalk

Fast Track Qualifiers

07 March 2019

I Can Fly had little difficultly in winning the €26,000 Get A Run For Your Money With BetVictor Fillies Race (6.45pm) at Dundalk, Ireland, this evening, Wednesday, March 6.

The seven-furlong Polytrack contest was a Fast-Track Qualifier, with I Can Fly gaining a free and guaranteed start in the £150,000 Ladbrokes Fillies And Mares' Championship over the same distance and surface at Lingfield Park on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 19.

Drawn in stall four, I Can Fly (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore, 1/3 favourite) raced in second as Annie Fior (Brendan Murphy/Seamie Heffernan, 100/1) took the four-strong field along.

Going well within herself as the runners entered the home straight, four-year-old Fastnet Rock filly I Can Fly took the lead with a furlong and a half to run and lengthened well when pushed out in the final furlong to win by an easy eight lengths from Surrounding (Michael Halford/Ronan Whelan,9/4), with Waitaki (Dermot McLoughlin/Conor Maxwell, 50/1) another length and a half away in third.

The winning time was 1m 25.14s. I Can Fly is owned by Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor.

I Can Fly came into today's race with an official rating of 116, with her best effort in 2018 coming when the neck runner-up to Roaring Lion in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October. This evening's success means I Can Fly maintains her 100 per cent record on the All-Weather, having made a winning debut over seven furlongs at Dundalk in August, 2017.

Aidan O'Brien commented afterwards: "I am delighted with I Can Fly.

"She is a lovely filly and it is great to get her started. Our plan is to go to Dubai with her for the nine-furlong (G1 Dubai Turf, Meydan, March 30).

"She won her maiden here and handles the surface well. She is a lovely straightforward filly and I couldn't be happier."


I Can Fly after her success in the Get A Run For Your Money With BetVictor Fillies Race at Dundalk this evening

The Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore combination had to settle for second in the richest race of the evening, the €75,000 Listed BetVictor Patton Stakes for three-year-olds over a mile. The BetVictor Patton Stakes is part of the European Road to the Kentucky Derby and went to Playa Del Puente, who maintained his 100 per cent record on Polytrack at Dundalk.

It was Colfer Me (Joseph O'Brien/Shane Foley, 12/1) who led the eight-strong field, with 6/4 favourite Western Australia (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) racing in second and Playa Del Puente (Michael Halford/Ronan Whelan, 11/4) in third.

That remained the order until the runners entered the final two furlongs when Western Australia and Playa Del Puente were ridden to deliver their challenges.

Colfer Me drifted left out in front, bumping Western Australia who in turn made contact with Playa Del Puente. It was the latter who just able to get on top in the final furlong, seeing off Western Australia by half a length. Numerian (Joseph O'Brien/Wayne Lordan, 20/1) stayed on to take third, another length and three-quarters adrift.

The winning time was 1m 37.37s. Playa Del Puente, a three-year-old son of Elzaam, was completing a hat-trick and has now won three times from as many starts at Dundalk. He began his winning sequence when taking a seven-furlong maiden on October 12 and followed up when landing a mile conditions race on December 19.

Winning trainer Michael Halford said: "We are delighted with Playa Del Puente. He is a smashing horse and progressive.

"He has the whole package and I feel there is plenty more to come from him as he is still a bit raw and babyish. He needs to learn to settle more in his races but he has got a bright future.

"I bought the horse with Michael Donohoe from the BBA and we set up a syndicate after we picked him out at Fairyhouse (Playa Del Puente realised €40,000). He was placed first time out in a maiden at the Curragh, after which we were made an offer for him and he has been lucky for his new owner (Hong Kong-based Huang Kai Wen).

"Tonight was his third win for his new owner - he has won a maiden, a winner's race and again tonight - so I am sure he delighted with the horse.

"Huang Kai Wen is based in Hong Kong and six people from there came over last week to see the horse and our set up at home. They were here on Friday night when unfortunately poor Willie Buckley passed away. They will obviously be thrilled and looking forward to getting the horse to Hong Kong.

"The Kentucky Derby wasn't the plan before tonight! I am sure we will have a talk about it, but we have made plans for the horse to ship to Hong Kong in early May."

Away from Dundalk, Kempton Park staged the £70,000 "Road To The Kentucky Derby" Conditions Race, another contest in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The mile contest saw an easy success for the Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Jahbath (William Haggas/Jim Crowley, 8/13 Favourite).

Racing in second place behind early leader Amplify (Brian Meehan/Tom Marquand, 66/1), the three-year-old Mukhadram colt challenged for the lead quarter of a mile from home and soon took the lead.

Jahbath lengthened well inside the final furlong to score by a comfortable two lengths from the staying-on Getchagetchagetcha (Clive Cox/Adam Kirby, 20/1) with Target Zone (David Elsworth/David Probert, 4/1) also doing his best wait in the closing stages to take third, another half-length away. Jahbath won in a time of 1m 38.78s.

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