By Alan Magee
More Beautiful ensured Aidan O’Brien got off to a winning start as Irish racing resumed at Naas on Monday.
The Ballydoyle handler claimed Sunday’s Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket with Love, and More Beautiful was a similarly impressive winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden – the first race staged in Ireland following the coronavirus shutdown.
Seamie Heffernan was always to the fore on More Beautiful, who boasts an excellent pedigree as a daughter of War Front out of Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Maybe.
More Beautiful was clearly in control with two furlongs to run and she stretched away in the closing stages to triumph by a very cosy three and a half lengths from Roses Blue.
Betfair immediately made More Beautiful the 7-2 favourite for the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday week.
Hefferan said: “She’s a War Front and every one of them have a lot of ability. She couldn’t have done it any easier and I liked what I felt today.”
Lucky Vega denied O’Brien and Heffernan a quickfire double as he outpointed 4-6 favourite Lippizaner in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (C & G) Maiden.
Lippizaner was the only runner with previous experience and it looked as though he would register his first win as he assumed command in the six-furlong heat.
However, Lucky Vega proved too strong up the rail and was half a length in front at the line, with Alex D staying on for third.
Winning trainer Jessica Harrington is not permitted on track as the coronavirus protocols employed by Horse Racing Ireland preclude over 70s attending meetings.
Her daughter Kate was on hand and said: “You would have to be happy with him. He never came off the bridle at home and Shane (Foley) said he was very green throughout the race.
“He was on the grass once or twice at home, but that was it and they were only steady bits.
“We thought he was a nice horse and it’s great to see him do it on the track. He showed a great attitude in the finish and he’s only going to improve.
“Mum will talk to the owner and see what he wants to do. He’s a big horse and I’d say he’s only 80 per cent there.”