Sunday 25 September 2016

O'Brien stays upbeat despite Found's shock Curragh defeat

Thomas Kelly

Published 05/05/2015 | 02:30

Iveagh Gardens ridden by Niall McCullagh (right) on the way to winning the Canford Cliffs European Breeders Fund Athasi Stakes at Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare, Ireland on Monday (Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Iveagh Gardens ridden by Niall McCullagh (right) on the way to winning the Canford Cliffs European Breeders Fund Athasi Stakes at Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare, Ireland on Monday (Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Aidan O'Brien's Found remains on course for the Epsom Oaks despite being beaten by 25/1 outsider in Iveagh Gardens on her return to action in the Canford Cliffs EBF Athasi Stakes at the Curragh.

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Already a Group One winner, Found was market leader for the English 1,000 Guineas but was ruled out at the 11th hour after a minor setback meant she had missed some crucial work.

Found looked like justifying her 5/4 favourite's tag when hitting the front a furlong out but Niall McCullagh pushed Iveagh Gardens through a gap and Charles O'Brien's filly flew past the market leader to win by two lengths.

Coral reacted by pushing Found out to 5/1 from 4/1 for the Oaks behind 7/2 favourite Legatissimo, winner of the Guineas in the same colours, but Aidan O'Brien was far from downhearted, saying: "I'm very happy with that, and she just got tired on the bad ground. We needed to run her before the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and that is where she will go now."

Tombelaine (11/2) wore down the giant Endless Drama to give Dermot Weld successive wins in the Tetrarch Stakes. Following on from Alkasser 12 months ago, Tombelaine didn't have to show improved form given the calibre of horses he ran against last season.

He beat French Guineas hope Highland Reel on his first outing and then ran into the likes of Gleneagles, John F Kennedy and Ol' Man River.

Excellent

"It was an excellent performance, but he's been mixing it with the very best," said Weld. "If he doesn't run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas then he could go for the Jersey Stakes."

Weld and Pat Smullen doubled up when Fascinating Rock landed odds of 2/5 in the So You Think EBF Mooresbridge Stakes, beating Parish Hall by just under two lengths.

A smart three-year-old last year, he won both the Ballysax and Derrinstown Derby Trials. Weld added: "He did what you would expect him to do. He could go for a lot of those races that Famous Name ran in before, and in the second part of the year could have more serious challenges. The Tattersalls Gold Cup could be considered."

Kerry-born Michael O'Callaghan could have his first runner at Royal Ascot after Emmett McNamara drove State Of Emergency (2/1) to a half-length victory over 4/5 favourite Mimicking in the Zoffany EBF Race.

Meanwhile, Michael Hussey was handed a 14-day ban after finishing second on My Painter in the PG Duffy & Sons Citroen Handicap. After moving through the field on Denis Hogan's four-year-old, Hussey led the main group but had not spotted 11/2 favourite Bobby Jean streaking clear on the far side.

In the resulting inquiry, Hussey admitted he had failed to see Bobby Jean and accepted his punishment.

Irish Independent

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