Jet Setting slays giants for Keatley and Foley
Jet Setting, a £12,600 cast-off, prompted scenes of rare euphoria at the Curragh with a determined defeat of Coolmore's Minding to secure a first Group One for Adrian Keatley and Shane Foley in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Fairytale underdog triumphs in Irish Classics aren't exactly common, but this was a resounding feat of giant-slaying that will resonate for some time. Two years haven't passed since Keatley saddled his first winner here on 2014 Irish Derby weekend.
Last Wednesday, he plundered a second treble at Ayr in the space of a month with cheaply bought horses. That has been his modus operandi. Indeed, he had saddled more winners on the Flat in Britain than he had in Ireland (13-12) prior to Jet Setting's famous head defeat of Minding in this €300,000 mile affair.
He is back at Ayr with two runners today and then it's on to Hamilton on Wednesday. Keatley's strike-rate is unerring; he picks his targets carefully, which is why his decision to sanction the supplementary of Jet Setting for the 1,000 Guineas at a cost of £30,000 caught the attention.
At Newmarket, the Fast Company filly - bought out of Richard Hannon's in the autumn with a handicap mark of 85 after failing to win in four starts - ran well but couldn't cope at the business end on quick ground.
Undeterred, Keatley eschewed the less prestigious German Guineas and okayed her addition to this at a cost of €30,000. His judgement was vindicated in spectacular style.
Jet Setting led or shared the lead throughout. The long odds-on Minding, thought by many to be worthy of a Derby entry after her stunning victory at Newmarket, couldn't better her when the gloves came off on soft ground in the final throes.
O'Brien, who later indicated that The Gurkha would probably skip the Derby for a tilt at the St James's Palace Stakes, revealed that Ryan Moore's mount suffered a bad cut on her nose when she anticipated the start and hit the stalls. The Oaks is still an option for Minding.
In the end, though, Jet Setting (9/1) had a head to spare, with 10 lengths back to Now Or Never. When you consider that Galileo, the sire of Minding and two other O'Brien runners here, stands for a fee of up to €250,000, it illustrates the David versus Goliath nature of Keatley's triumph with a reject that has now won three of her four starts this year.
Not bad for local lad who had to take out a €3,000 Credit Union loan when he returned from Australia with nothing but a desire to train.
Keatley now stables 40 at nearby Rossmore Cottage and wants more.
"It's a dream come true," the 33-year-old admitted. "I was delighted when the rain came. It's great for the owners and the yard, and I hope we can keep getting bigger and better, so we don't have to go to Ayr so much!" Of plans for Jet Setting, which is owned by the Equinegrowthpartners Syndicate, he added: "We'll look at Royal Ascot, but she probably needs a bit of ease."
Foley was chinned on Massiyn in the 2012 Irish St Leger. This time, the 28-year-old did the thwarting.
"It's unbelievable," the Kilkenny native beamed. "These are the ones you want. I thought Ryan was going to collar me but she kept pulling it out. She is very brave." O'Brien and Moore doubled up with Beacon Rock in the Gallinule Stakes and the maiden The Major General, but Found, another odds-on shot, was readily held by the Pat Smullen-ridden Fascinating Rock (9/4) in the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup.
"He's a big horse that takes a run," Dermot Weld said of the winner's defeat to Found first time up. "He beat her fair and square in the Champion Stakes, so there was no reason why he wouldn't again. He will have a break and be trained for the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc."
On his 39th birthday, Smullen initiated a 129/1 treble on Andy Slattery's Creggs Pipes (7/1), closing out on Weld's Maneen (4/1 fav). Attendance over the two days fell 9pc on 2015 to 11,707.