Dermot Weld saddles winner for the Aga Khan
Last Updated: November 3, 2013 5:43pm
Dermot Weld: Trains Balansiya
Dermot Weld's new association with the Aga Khan got off to the best possible start when Balansiya struck by seven lengths at Leopardstown.
The Shamardal filly earned quotes of around 16/1 for next year's 1000 Guineas at Newmarket following her genuinely impressive display in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.
Balansiya was sent off the 11/4 joint-favourite to make a winning racecourse debut and readily accounted for market rival Upper Silesian in the hands of Pat Smullen.
The two-year-old was the first Weld-trained runner for the Aga Khan since the powerful owner-breeder increased his roster of trainers in Ireland earlier in the year.
Weld said: "That was a nice performance by her. She had been working nicely and the few drying days helped her as I think she is a good-ground filly really.
"She wouldn't have wanted it any softer than that. She is just a lovely filly and hopefully she will make into a stakes filly for next year."
Besides the Guineas, the winner was also given a quote of 20/1 by Sky Bet for the Investec Oaks at Epsom.
Weld's other runner for the Aga Khan, Rousayan, finished third in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden after duelling with Screenshot through the final furlong.
The pair were cut down by Aidan O'Brien's newcomer Blue Hussar (7/2 joint-favourite), who flashed home late under Seamie Heffernan to win by three-quarters of a length.
Heffernan said: "He was the best horse in the race. I was told to take my time on him and he won well in the end. He is a Montjeu with a lot of ability and hopefully he will progress."
Weld did, however, secure a double when 14/1 chance Elegant Peace, ridden by Leigh Roche and owned by John Malone, showed plenty of guts to deny Balmont Blast in the www.leopardstown.com Nursery over seven furlongs.Francis Of Assisi (9/2) weaved his way through the field to land the Listed Knockaire Stakes.
Ballydoyle's inmate banished memories of a no-show in the Irish Cambridgeshire in September to seize the day courtesy of a well-judged Heffernan ride.
The Danehill Dancer colt came from well off the pace to flash clear on the outside of runner-up Big Break, who had looked in control once she outmuscled the front-running Allegra Tak inside the final furlong and a half.
Heffernan had other ideas, though, and cajoled his companion inside the final 200 yards to deny the Weld-trained 2/1 favourite by a length and a half.
Heffernan and O'Brien brought up a three-timer when Mekong River preserved his unbeaten record in the Listed Eyrefield Stakes.
The Galileo colt made all of the running under Heffernan and stretched readily clear on the far rail as the 4/6 favourite.
Achnaha gave chase, but it was all in vain as Mekong River, who has now won four races, held an unassailable advantage at the line.
Heffernan said Mekong River is now in line to run in Group One company in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France next Saturday.
He said: "He is tough. I was asked to find out a bit about him. He will be a good spin in the Group One at Saint-Cloud. He is a bit lazy at home but he has improved from run to run. You'd have to be happy with him. He ran hard and fast the whole way and I'm delighted to get the leg-up on these sort of horses."
Sir Ector, trained in Northern Ireland by James Lambe, won the most valuable race of the day, the Movember Handicap.
Jockey Johnny Murtagh showed characteristic finesse to nudge the 14/1 chance half a length clear of Quick Jack.
Bayan and Saptapadi finished third and fourth respectively.
Lambe said: "Johnny got off him the last day and he said to run him in the November Handicap and that he would win it. We always knew he had a big pot like this in him. Johnny said he could be a Yorkshire Cup horse. I might run him over hurdles now, and then give him a break."
Murtagh announced before racing that he would donate his riding fees and winnings from Leopardstown to the Jockeys Emergency Fund.