Saturday 1 October 2016

Moonlight Magic makes Epsom case

Thomas Kelly

Published 09/05/2016 | 02:30

In the Godolphin all blue, Moonlight Magic and Kevin Manning (nearest camera) swoops past both Beacon Rock and Saafarr (left) to on his way to claiming yesterday’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
In the Godolphin all blue, Moonlight Magic and Kevin Manning (nearest camera) swoops past both Beacon Rock and Saafarr (left) to on his way to claiming yesterday’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Jim Bolger's Moonlight Magic threw his hat into the Investec Derby picture by winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.

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A winner of both his starts at two, the son of Cape Cross got bogged down in heavy ground on his reappearance in the Ballysax Stakes.

Back on a sound surface, he travelled sweetly in the hands of Kevin Manning in third place, ready to pounce in the short straight.

Once his pacemaker Saafarr gave way and Beacon Rock could not go on, Moonlight Magic quickened clear.

A lot was expected of Dermot Weld's Tirmizi but he flattered to deceive, while Richard Hannon's Ventura Storm never got involved after seemingly taking a false step on a road crossing.

Aidan O'Brien's Shogun stayed on takingly for second behind the 6/1 winner, beaten by a length and a quarter, with stablemate Idaho third.

"I've always loved this horse, but he disappointed me the last day. The ground was very heavy and one thing and another," said Manning.

"He's come back and showed me what I thought he was. I think a step up in trip would be good for us. I don't know about Epsom, but I definitely think he's got a future and a step up in trip would be no problem."

Bolger said: "I'd be keen to go to Epsom. I think he can go anywhere, but I'd have to discuss it with the Godolphin people and arrive at a consensus. If it were left to me, I'd be very keen to go.

"I've always held him in high regard. We kept him to the end of the year last season, his maiden form was good and then he won a Listed race.

"I got it wrong the last day - he probably wasn't at the top of his game and we paid the price, but he's bounced back today.

"He's a very classy horse and he'll stay a mile and a half, but I wouldn't mind dropping back to a mile - he's got plenty of toe.

"He's a proper Derby horse. I would respect the opposition but not fear them."

Stopping

Of the placed horses, O'Brien said: "They ran well. I think you'd have to say Idaho and Shogun would get a mile and a half looking at that, as they weren't stopping at the line."

Dont Bother Me (14-1) made every post a winning one in the John R Fitzpatrick Agricultural Contractor Handicap.

The six-year-old had not shown a great deal since returning to the Niall Moran stable but stepped forward from last week's Sligo comeback and saw off Plough Boy by two and a quarter lengths.

"He was highly tried, he ran in the Guineas and led until two furlongs out in the Jersey," said Moran. "He was sent to England and came back a train-wreck. It's taken a long time to get him back right. He was only half the horse last year, and has come back right this year.

"He may go to the Curragh on Guineas weekend. We'll see how he is in the morning."

Intisari denied John Oxx his first winner of the season in the Fitzpatrick Gallagher McEvoy Solicitors Handicap.

The Oxx-trained Xebec dictated terms to suit himself and appeared to have stolen a winning march entering the final furlong, only to be reeled in by Ger Lyons' top-weight Intisari (14-1), who got the verdict in a photo.

Cole Porter hit the right note for O'Brien and Ryan Moore in the Bulmers Live At Leopardstown Festival Maiden, kicking clear to hold Radar O'Reilly by half a length.

Irish Independent

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