Curragh hat-trick for record breaker Aidan O'Brien
Aidan O'Brien will consider a tilt at the Racing Post Trophy with Port Douglas after a surprise victory from the front in the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.
O'Brien went into the Group Two contest tied on 14 Beresford triumphs with the great Vincent O'Brien, with the likes of Septimus (2005), St Nicholas Abbey (2009) and last year's victor Ol' Man River 12 months ago among his previous winners.
The County Tipperary maestro fielded three runners in an attempt to break the record and it was the least fancied of the trio that got the job done under Emmet McNamara.
An impressive winner on his Leopardstown debut but beaten twice since, Port Douglas was a 14-1 shot and looked booked for pacemaking duties after being rushed into an early lead.
The youngster looked set to give way when passed by 9-4 joint-favourite True Solitaire, but roared back tenaciously to get back up by a short-head.
The other market leader, the winner's stable companion Beacon Rock, came home with a rattle and was close behind in third place.
O'Brien said: "He's a tough horse and was a bit lazy last time so we put the blinkers on to keep him awake.
"He could go for the Racing Post Trophy and is a typical middle-distance horse. They went a good gallop.
"Beacon Rock ran well. He was a bit green but came home well, while I'd say Unicorn (seventh) is a bit weak and will be a better horse next year."
Port Douglas' success was the highlight of a treble on the day for the dominant team.
Coolmore (5-2) finished with a rattle under the trainer's son Joseph to take the Group Three C.L. & M.F. Weld Park Stakes, reversing recent Leopardstown form with Mick Halford's runner-up Anamba.
A full-sister to Gleneagles, Coolmore was cut to 16-1 from 25-1 with RaceBets for the Qipco 1000 Guineas and also the Investec Oaks.
"I'm delighted with that. I thought she would win in Leopardstown, but it was on the inside track and she was a bit green and the ground was a bit dead," said O'Brien.
"I always thought she wanted to go a mile and she ran today to get more experience.
"She is crying out to go a mile this year. They went a good gallop and she came home well."
The Ballydoyle hat-trick was initiated by Hit It A Bomb (2-1 favourite), who made a winning debut in the hands of Ryan Moore in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden.
O'Brien said: "He's a nice horse and ran green.
"The Racing Post Trophy may come a bit quick, but we'll see how he comes out of this first. If he'd had a run (earlier) he could have been a Dewhurst horse.
"He handled that ground, but he's a War Front and would like some nice ground."