We were delighted to enjoy a good month that included some high-quality winners in Group races, with the highlight coming on Guineas weekend at the Curragh through Epona Plays in the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes.
She was impressive in winning by four lengths, seemed to love running over the mile and Billy gave her a very good ride. The Forni family deserve credit for keeping her on the go and turning down offers to sell her - I'm delighted for them that she's had such a good start to the season.
We've given her an entry in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on July 9 but it's possible that she could run in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 27 if we happened to get some rain in advance. We'll see closer to the time.
Epona Plays' impressive win at The Curragh
It also was fantastic to see Insinuendo get her first Group 3 win in the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas earlier in the month under Declan McDonogh - I was thrilled for Dympna and Michael Deegan.
That was only her third start and I think she's improving all the time, she's very tough. We've given her an entry for the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh on July 18.
Insinuendo gets her first Group 3 win at Naas
Texas Moon got off the mark at Gowran on his second start a few days earlier, coming forward nicely from his debut at the same track. He went through the ring for €4,000 as a yearling and we gave him time to mature. He's since been sold to continue his career in Hong Kong.
There was also a deserved first win for Cnodian at Fairyhouse, getting her head in front in a six-furlong handicap under Nathan. She's owned and bred by Rory and Noeleen O'Toole and it was actually their first winner on the Flat, which was great for them.
A well deserved first win for Cnodian at Fairyhouse
We think Loveday is a fast filly and she finished second to subsequent Marble Hill winner Castle Star when earning black type in the Listed First Flier Stakes at the Curragh. I was a bit disappointed with her at Cork when second over the minimum distance on her next start. She could head to Tipperary in early June.
Up Helly Aa was fourth in the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh, continuing to pick up prize money on all his starts this season. I still think he's a mile-and-a-quarter horse on good ground. Wood Ranger made a decent start to his season when third in a premier handicap at Naas over six furlongs. We were a bit disappointed with him at Cork on his next start when he pulled a shoe and his next run could come at Listowel next month.
There was a nice run from Stag Night on his debut at Gowran when third and I think the key to him is good ground. He'll also have the option of going to Tipperary in June and hopefully he'll improve with experience. Punakha looks a nice filly and hopefully she'll come forward from her debut at Naas when finishing fourth. There's a maiden for her next month at Gowran that we can look towards.
It was a pity that Fictitious Lady was just collared by a head in a maiden at Killarney. She's a little hard to figure out, she probably needs to get her own way. We'll keep trying our best to get her head in front. A poor jockey decision didn't help Coill Na Sionainne at Gowran when she probably should have won but hopefully she can get another turn again before long. Fingers crossed we'll be able to find the right opportunity for Even Flow to open her account over the coming weeks after she finished fourth at Sligo.
It was a bit unlucky that we ran both Lustown Baba and Star In The Making in the Listed Owenstown Stud Stakes at Naas because we would have got black type for the latter if we hadn't done so. They both ran well to finish second and fourth respectively - Billy probably gave Lustown a bit too much to do - and they'll have entries for the Ballyogan Stakes next month.
It's been a good month for our runners and we're looking forward to the rest of the summer, hoping that everything keeps going in the right direction.