Moonlight Bay impresses as Irish flat season begins

Moonlight Bay (centre) ridden by jockey Chris Hayes goes on to win the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden at Naas

Moonlight Bay (centre) ridden by jockey Chris Hayes goes on to win the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden at Naas

Moonlight Bay produced a decisive turn of foot to win the opening race of the Irish Flat season for veteran trainer Kevin Prendergast at Naas.

The daughter of Pivotal was produced late by jockey Chris Hayes to collar the well-backed Royal Diplomat in the closing stages of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

Royal Diplomat was always prominent and led inside the final furlong but the 6-4 favourite had no answer to the late surge of Moonlight Bay (4-1), who powered away to score by two and a half lengths.

Prendergast said: "She probably handled the ground better than most of them.

"She was bred at Lumville Stud which is one of Sheikh Hamdan's studs in Co. Offaly, and they run a good outfit there. Hopefully she goes on from this."

Alphabet opened her account in impressive fashion when having her first start for Aidan O'Brien in the Weatherbys GSB Goes Online Maiden.

Having shown bits of form in three starts for the now-retired David Wachman last term, the daughter of Lawman turned this six-furlong heat into a procession.

Leading virtually from the start, the 7-1 chance drew away from her 19 rivals in the final furlong in the hands of O'Brien's daughter, Ana.

Ma Fee Heela was sent off the 7-4 favourite to make a successful debut but had to settle for second place, some five and a half lengths behind the easy winner. Jet Streaming shaped well on her first run in third place for Adrian Keatley.

The winning trainer said: "David liked her last year, but his horses were sick. He thought she was quick, and she seems to handle any ground. She jumped and travelled very strongly.

"We have about seven horses that David trained last year, and they are ones he thought were above maiden class."

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