Racing: Bolas repays faith

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The Independent Online
BOLAS, so nearly sold as useless by Khaled Abdullah last year, proved anything but with an emphatic all-the-way win in the Kildangan Stud Irish Oaks at the Curragh yesterday. The filly had been entered at the December sales after one undistinguished run, but her trainer, Barry Hills, persuaded Abdullah to give her one more chance, and she missed her date with the auctioneer.

It was inspired judgement, for Bolas has done nothing but improve all year and now takes her place in the top rank with a Classic victory. She was followed home by Hawajiss, third to the subsequent Irish Derby heroine Balanchine in the English Oaks, Gothic Dream, her runner-up in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Wind In Her Hair, second at Epsom.

It was a second successive Irish Oaks for Abdullah and Pat Eddery, who won with Wemyss Bight last year, and a second for Hills after Dibidale 20 years ago. Eddery, still walking a bit feelingly after his Newmarket accident last Wednesday, said: 'I never saw another horse. The ground was soft enough for her but she's done it well although the head wind didn't help.'

Barry Hills nominated the Yorkshire Oaks at York in August as the next target for Bolas, with a possible tilt at the St Leger at Doncaster in September later on. Hawajiss found the winner always packing too much pace for her in the straight. Her trainer, Michael Stoute, said: 'I am not disappointed, we were beaten by a better filly.'

The Irish St Leger is the likely target for Gothic Dream who ran the race of her life, reducing the Ribblesdale defecit with the winner by half.

The Middleham trainer Mark Johnston had his first success in Ireland when Millstream made all the running to take the Group Three Curragh Stakes. Frankie Dettori bounced the daughter of Dayjur out in front and the favourite came home as she liked, two lengths ahead of Raghida. Johnston said: 'She's still learning and we made the right decision to pull her out of the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket last Tuesday.'

The Group Two Lowther Stakes at York is Millstream's next target.

There was punter heaven at York, with the first four favourites obliging and the two market leaders fighting out the finish of the John Smith's

Magnet Cup.

The 2-1 favourite, Midnight Legend, set out to make every post a winning one on lightning-fast ground, and had most of the field stretched as he thundered down the straight. But, in the last furlong, Cezanne, humping top weight of 9st 12lb, produced a tremendous run under Gary Hind, and cut the leader - to whom he was conceding 26lb - down to win by a cosy neck.