O'Brien sets Derby target for Recital after flawed triumph
DESPITE looking a small bit wayward, Aidan O'Brien's Recital staked his Classic claims at Leopardstown yesterday by duly capturing the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
Giving Kieren Fallon a comeback win for O'Brien, the 1/2 favourite led two furlongs out and shot clear from stablemates Memphis Tennessee and Regent Street.
However, the winner hung quite badly inside the closing stages and was eased down by Fallon near the finish when victory was assured.
The winner's awkward head carriage did not prevent bookmakers from clipping Recital's price for the Epsom Derby, for which his trainer confirmed him a starter.
O'Brien, winning this race for a ninth time, said: "Recital is lazy once he hits the front. I thought the pace came back on top of him in that race.
"The plan is now to go to the Derby. Recital has a lot of speed, whereas Seville is a more laid-back horse."
O'Brien looks to have a promising type in Admiral Of The Red, which got off the mark with an all-the-way win in the 12-furlong maiden.
Unable to strike a blow on his debut over an inadequate trip last summer, this well-bred colt showed he could be a good stayer in the making.
Ridden by O'Brien's son, Joseph, the 3/1 favourite pulled clear in the straight to score by four and a half lengths from Olympiad.
Outsider Ballybacka Lady stunned punters with a shock 33/1 success in the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial. Fran Berry rode the Pat Fahy-trained filly with confidence, sending her into the lead over a furlong out to leave the opposition struggling.
Sapphire Pendant came out of the pack but could not make up the ground and was a length and three-quarters down at the line.
Co Carlow-based Fahy said: "That's my first stakes winner. She had decent form in the book and it is unbelievable to have a filly like that. She'll go for the Guineas at The Curragh now."
Course maestro Famous Name claimed his eighth Leopardstown success in the Amethyst Stakes.
Dermot Weld's prolific entire won the corresponding race 12 months ago and had little problem justifying 1/6 favouritism.
Pat Smullen breezed into the lead passing the two-furlong marker to take the Group Three encounter by seven lengths from Across The Rhine.
Edward Lynam's 12/1 outsider French Emperor stepped up considerably on his Dundalk debut to take the opening juvenile auction maiden by three and a half lengths under Colm O'Donoghue.
The Michael Halford-trained Zerashan (4/1 joint-favourite) made all for Johnny Murtagh when defying top weight in the Growise Handicap.