• Horse Racing

Samitar springs surprise at Curragh

ESPN staff
May 27, 2012
Samitar secured a surprise, but deserved, success © Getty Images

There was a surprise winner of the Irish 1000 Guineas at Curragh on Sunday, as Samitar sprung out to victory by little over a length.

The Mick Channon-trained filly was 12-1 with the bookies for the Irish Classic after underwhelming performances in her two prior starts this season, and looked to be on course for a similarly uninspired display after getting caught in the pack as Homecoming Queen made the early running.

Homecoming Queen, victor in the Newmarket 1000 Guineas, soon began to wilt, however, and Samitar took advantage to scythe through the field to hold off Ishvana - like Homecoming Queen, an Aiden O'Brien horse - and Princess Sinead to win.

It was a first Classic triumph for both trainer and jockey, Martin Harley.

"She's been working good and a big thanks to the boss and the staff back home," Harley said. "Two furlongs down she was never going to get beat - she was travelling like the winner all the way. It's an amazing feeling."

It was not all disappointment for O'Brien, however, as So You Think completed back-to-back victories in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.

The six-year-old looked comfortable throughout, following pacemaker and stablemate Robin Hood before picking up the pace with two furlongs to go. Famous Name tried to stay with So You Think, but eventually succumbed to a six-length defeat as Robin Hood held on for third.

"We're probably only really getting to know him and doing the right thing with him," O'Brien said afterwards. "He's an amazing horse - he's very unusual in that his mane and his tail grow twice as quick as any other horse which means he has a wild look about him.

"We'll look at Royal Ascot (Queen Anne Stakes or the Prince of Wales's Stakes).

"Then he'll go for the Eclipse (Sandown) as that's the only race that fits into his programme before he goes into quarantine (for stud duties in Australia).

"This is the last time you'll see him in this country. Training him has been an unbelievable experience."

Elsewhere, there was a victory for Midnight Soprano in the Paddy Power Handicap.

In France, Golden Lilac got the better of favourite Cirrus Des Aigles to make a winning return on a regular appearance in the Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp.

Cirrus De Aigles was searching for a third successive win after claiming the Dubai Seema Classic and Prix Ganay in recent times, but had no answer for Golden Lilac as the 6-1 shot showed a great turn of speed under Maxime Guyon to take the lead close to home and hold on.

Planteur finished third.

At the same meet, Ivory Land was triumphant in the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier after holding off the threat of Usuelo.

The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained stayer kept stride with Usuelo for much of the race, before pushing the pace over the final stretch. Prairie Star rounded out the top three.

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