John Oxx (right) after Sea Of Grace’s success at the Curragh
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Keith Melrose 3:28PM 28 AUG 2016
Report: Ireland, Sunday
Flame Of Tara European Breeders Fund Stakes (Group 3), 1m, 2yo fillies
SEA OF GRACE beat Eziyra for the second time in the Flame of Tara Stakes to provide trainer John Oxx with a first Group success in three years.
The two had met previously on Eziyra’s debut, when Sea Of Grace’s experience had seemed to give her the edge. The market seemed to work under that presumption, with Eziyra sent off the even-money favourite.
This time the Dermot Weld-trained filly, who had since won at Galway, had few excuses.
She fought tooth and nail, but could not prevent the same outcome as before. Sea Of Grace, 7-2 joint-second favourite alongside third-placed Butterflies, prevailed by a neck under Declan McDonogh.
Legitimus had set the early pace, with Eziyra close up and Sea Of Grace waited with. The winner closed up before two furlongs out and headed Eziyra, who went in front inside the last only to be passed again late on.
Oxx said: “She’s a filly with a good turn of foot. Declan said the ground was plenty fast for her and that she wasn’t that comfortable on it.”
He added: “She arrived a bit soon and paused before showing plenty of heart and courage towards the finish. If she comes out of the race well and we get some ease in the ground she’ll probably come back here for the Moyglare Stud Stakes.”
The winner was given an initial quote of 25-1 for next year’s Investec Oaks by Paddy Power, the same price as Eziyra with the same firm.
The win was a first at Group level for Oxx, who famously guided Sea The Stars to six top-level successes in 2009, since My Titania won the Park Stakes at Leopardstown in September 2013.
Also on Sunday
Curragh: Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes (Group 3), 1m1f, 3yo+ fillies
SOMEHOW regained the winning thread in tremendous style to take the Snow Fairy Stakes by an easy seven lengths.
The Cheshire Oaks winner had run with credit in three defeats since Chester’s May meeting, but had no trouble dropped in trip as she shot away from the field after leading well over a furlong out.
The Mick Channon-traned Epsom Icon was second, half a length ahead of 9-4 favourite Skiffle.
The winner had her odds slashed for any potential return to Group 1 company, with Paddy Power offering 10-1 for both the Matron Stakes (first show) and British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes (from 25).