Ecliptical produced a memorable performance to come from last to first as he pulled off a long-term plan in the valuable Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Race Final – to complete a Naas double for connections.
Title-chasing Colin Keane anchored Ger Lyons’ well-backed 9-2 shot last of 15 in the valuable event.
If any of Ecliptical’s supporters were becoming anxious, however, Keane was not among them – and after pulling to the wide outside, he circled the field and ate up ground over the stiff finish.
The juvenile, unraced since winning his second career start on similarly testing ground in a Bellewstown maiden two months ago, proved his pace for this drop to seven furlongs – winning by a length and a quarter from 50-1 outsider The Blue Panther, with Vafortino a further half-length back in third.
The winning trainer’s brother and assistant Shane Lyons said: “When he won in Bellewstown the plan was to go for this race.
“He wants a mile – but we thought with the bit of cut in the ground this would suit.
“He’ll be a lovely horse next year, is all heart and showed there that he has a touch of class as well.
“He was drawn 16, Colin dropped him in – and to be able to come from last to first, you have to be good.”
Parent’s Prayer was another winner to strike from off the pace, capping a fine weekend for Archie Watson in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes.
Lambourn trainer Watson, who 24 hours earlier had won his first Group One courtesy of Glen Shiel in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot, was travelling Parent’s Prayer to Ireland for the second time in as many months – following her third in the Fairy Bridge Stakes at Gowran.
She went two places better this time, challenging down the middle and surging clear under Ben Coen to win by three lengths at 12-1 – with 80-1 outsider Stormy Belle and 8-1 shot Best On Stage dead-heating for second.
Coen said of the winner: “She loved the ground and travelled through the race very easily.
“She picked up well at the two pole, and I probably got there too soon. She was getting a bit lonely, but she toughed it out.”
Listed honours were also on offer in the following Irish Stallion Farms EBF Bluebell Stakes, and Jessica Harrington’s Barrington Court claimed them to give Keane’s title rival Shane Foley a winner.
JP McManus’ former hurdler was having just her fourth start on the Flat, at the age of six, and won for the second time in this discipline – arriving on the scene in the straight and finishing a length and a half in front of Snapraeceps.
Harrington is already planning a swift return for the winning 15-8 favourite.
She said: “She may come back here for the Finale Stakes (November 7).
“I don’t think she will go back over hurdles – because every time she runs she hurts herself.”
Power Under Me was a winning debutant in the opening Tifrums Irish EBF Maiden – for Keane, Lyons and Ecliptical’s owner Vincent Gaul.
The gelding repelled the challenge of favourite Coulthard in the final furlong to win by two and a quarter lengths at 16-5.
Power Under Me was making a belated debut, but Shane Lyons expects there will be plenty more to come.
“He has a high knee action, so we were waiting for the ground,” he said.
“He’s only come good in the last six weeks. He was backward, but his work was very promising at home.
“Ideally we would like to get another run in for the Birdcatcher (back at Naas next month), but I don’t think we’ll have time for that.
“He’ll be a nice horse for next year. It’s amazing how well (Power Under Me’s sire) Mehmas has done this year, and he’s our only one.”
Elizabethan ran out an easy winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, for Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan.
On her fourth career start, she was not inconvenienced racing out on her own up the stands side as she broke her duck by a length and a quarter at 100-30.
Wood Ranger was the emphatic winning favourite in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Nursery Handicap.
The 15-8 shot and top weight collared long-time leader Fine Distraction in the final furlong to prevail by two and three-quarter lengths under 5lb claimer Nathan Crosse for Willie McCreery, with the first two finishing well clear.
The winning trainer said: “I was trying to get him into the main race [the auction final], but it’s nice to pick up the (Plus 10) bonus here.
“He’s probably a seven-furlong horse, but we had to run him with the good prize-money here today.”