Raphael (nearest, with sheep-skin noseband)
©Healy Racing Photos
By Tom Weekes
Raphael was the third successive winning favourite in the opening races at Leopardstown today as the Kevin Prendergast trained, Chris Hayes partnered gelding was the short-head winner of the Stunning Handicap.
The Hamdan Al Maktoum owned four year old raced behind the leaders and gained a narrow lead inside the final furlong before eventually holding on to beat Pheonix Open.
Afterwards Hayes said “he’s got a lot of talent but is a little bit quirky. He’d a nice comeback run in an apprentice race in Naas. He gave a lot of weight away and the boss just said to keep it simple and thankfully it worked out.
“I probably got there sooner than ideal but it’s just the way the race played, and thank god we had a big sheepskin (noseband) on him!”
Quotes from Alan Magee