India too hot in Curragh opener
Published 19/07/2014 | 17:58
East India produced a telling turn of foot to make a winning debut for Aidan O'Brien in the Darley European Breeders Fund Maiden at the Curragh.
The seven-furlong contest has been a breeding ground of champions in recent seasons, with Derby hero Australia successful last year for the Ballydoyle team.
With stable companion St Patrick's Day all the rage as the 4-6 favourite after an encouraging debut second at Naas, East India was an 11-2 shot in the hands of Seamie Heffernan.
I Will Excel attempted to make the most of experience edge, drawing the sting out of his rivals halfway up the straight, but he was mowed down late by both East India and Mick Halford's newcomer Portage.
The latter was arguably finishing the stronger of the two, but East India passed the post a neck to the good, with I Will Excel running a fine race in third.
St Patrick's Day was unable to pick up and faded out of contention disappointingly.
O'Brien said: "I'm delighted. He was working like a nice horse and was just ready to start.
"Seamie took his time on him and relaxed him in the first half of the race. The idea was to give him a nice education and see what happens. He picked up really well.
"He's a very well-bred horse and we'll look for a winner's race or a Listed race now. He's a horse who'll get further than seven furlongs.
"We'll see what comes up, but he wouldn't have any bother stepping up, I would say."