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ZHU BEAUTY; IRISH ROUND-UP; Weld mare is big in the Apple.

Byline: PETER O'HEHIR

ACAPULCO and Zhukova proved the stars of the weekend action at home and abroad.

The Dermot Weld-trained mare Zhukova, ridden by Johnny Velasquez, landed the Grade 1 Man O'War Stakes in New York's Belmont Park on Saturday night.

Flying filly Acapulco - having her first run since joining Aidan O'Brien - then captured the Curragh feature, the inaugural running of the listed Sole Power Stakes.

Weld, speaking at the Curragh, described Zhukova's victory as "very special, in a very historic race".

He added: "The conditions of the race, the weights, suited her. And, of course, the rain came which turned the ground in our favour.

"I always said she'd be a very good mare as a five-year-old. I must discuss plans with her owners - she could stay over there for the Manhattan in Belmont in June or come home for the Pretty Polly (Group 1) here on Derby weekend.

"Or we could leave her off and train her for an autumn campaign, with the Yorkshire Oaks and the Arc her main targets."

Spectacular all-the-way winner of the Queen Mary for Wesley Ward as a juvenile, Acapulco impressed in the listed sprint, beating top-weight Ardhoomey by three-quarters of a length to complete a double for Aidan And Donnacha O'Brien, initiated by Royal Ascot-bound two-year-old filly Actress in the opener.

Now a four-year-old, Acapulco was having her first outing for O'Brien having been off the track since November.

He said: "We've been trying to get to relax at home, that's why she wore the hood. But she was a bit lazy and the hood will come off the next day. It was a perfect start for her."

Acapulco will now return to Royal Ascot for the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes. And Irishcorrespondent, ridden by Shane Foley, booked his ticket to the Irish 2,000 Guineas on May 27 when bolting up in the Irish Stallion Farms Race, prompting his trainer Michael Halford to state: "He has everything - temperament, action, cruising speed and he quickens."

ST STEPHEN'S Green landed yesterday's Killarney feature, the [euro]50,000 Redweld Limited Handicap Hurdle, for cousins Emmet and David Mullins.

Their uncle Willie, successful with the Ruby Walsh-ridden Asthuria, provides the nap on today's card at the Kerry venue with Arbre De Vie.

The McSweeney Arms Hotel An Riocht Chase looks a cracker. If ground remains good, novice Woodland Opera may upstage more experienced rivals, including stable-companion Rock The World and Ballycasey.

CAPTION(S):

BIG OVA THERE Zhukova won in New York at weekend while Acapulco was impressive here

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:May 15, 2017
Words:424
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