O'Brien's 'Diamond' shines bright in Oaks trial
Aidan O'Brien often uses Chester's May Festival to sort out some of his Derby wheat from his chaff, but it was one of his fillies, Diamondsandrubies, which caught the eye as a Classic prospect by sluicing up in yesterday's Cheshire Oaks.
She went shooting up the Ballydoyle batting order and is now a best- priced 10/1 third favourite for Epsom, which contrasted sharply with the stable's Derby hope Sir Isaac Newton, which was taken out of the betting after failing to land the ten-furlong maiden at 1/6.
Ryan Moore had Diamondsandrubies just behind the leader on the rail throughout and, as soon as he got daylight in the short straight, she put the race to bed in a few strides before powering away to a six-length success over the John Gosden-trained pair Entertainment and Zamoura.
Carrying the colours of part-owner/breeder Roisin Henry, she'll now head to Epsom, where choosing between her and the Coolmore-owned pair Found and Legatissimo (the two ahead of her in the market) could give Moore a headache.
"She is a Fastnet Rock filly so we thought she wouldn't like the ground," said Mrs Henry. "But it didn't seem to bother her at all.
"Her mother won the Moyglare and was second in three Classics. She wasn't straightforward and nor is Diamondsandrubies, but I certainly think she has got what it takes for the Oaks."
O'Brien uses Chester's tight turns as an equine equivalent of a crammer for his Derby hopes.
However, it took a long time for the penny - let alone the apple - to drop for Sir Isaac Newton and the 3.6m guinea colt was not only green, but lacked the engine to get past Cymro.
Just when the Chester Cup looked as though it would head the same way as the Cheshire Oaks, back to Ireland, as Tony Martin's 4/1 favourite Quick Jack finally overhauled Dermot Weld's Zafayan, Ed Dunlop's Trip To Paris came from out of the clouds under a brilliant ride from Graham Lee to win by three-quarters of a length.
Dunlop compared the four-year-old favourably with globe-trotting stable star Red Cadeaux, second in three Melbourne Cups. (© Daily Telegraph, London)