Racing at Leopardstown on Friday survived an inspection following torrential rain and one man who was certainly glad it went ahead was trainer Paul Deegan. He saddled the wonderfully consistent Midnight Soprano (IRE) in the Listed Seamus & Rosemary McGrath Memorial Saval Beg Stakes and the daughter of Celtic Swing made it five wins in a row when beating Saddlers Rock and Unaccompanied by half a length under a good ride by Chris Hayes. “Midnight Soprano is improving all the time and has a bit of class. She’s light-framed and we do very little with her at home. We’ll probably head for the Martin Molony Stakes at Limerick next,” reported a delighted trainer after the race. Following Midnight Soprano’s last win in a valuable handicap recently at the Curragh the mission for connections was to achieve at least a stakes race placing to boost her pedigree page. It didn’t take long to overachieve on that mission and an Irish St Leger bid may be on the cards later in the year. Owner breeder Jim Monaghan must be getting a great kick out of her winning spree. He bred both the winner and her four time winning full sister Celtic Soprano out of the Dr Devious mare Midnight Glimmer, herself a daughter of Orby Stakes winner Nordic Soprano. The runner up Saddlers Rock ran a nice seasonal debut and it should leave him spot on for the Ascot Gold Cup next week.
Midnight Soprano’s credentials had been advertised earlier on the card when Backbench Blues (IRE) won the Listed Nijinsky Stakes for Jessica Harrington in the Snow Fairy colours of Cristina Patino. Backbench Blues had previously finished fourth behind Midnight Soprano at the Curragh and although he wandered around in the final furlong he was far superior to Macbeth and was value for more than his three and three quarter length success. The winner was homebred by Anamoine Ltd and he is another tough, classy horse for his sire Big Bad Bob who stands at the Irish National Stud. The winner is a full brother to Banksters Bonus who won the Ulster Derby for the Harrington stable last year before being sold to race in Hong Kong. Backbench Blues was winning for the fourth time in only six runs and he is certainly a 3yo with a big future.