JFK loses Derby favourite tag
Published 12/04/2015 | 20:56
John F Kennedy lost his place as favourite for the Investec Derby after finishing a well-beaten last of three on his seasonal debut at Leopardstown.
There was a major shake-up in the betting for the Epsom Classic, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt being replaced as market leader by his stablemate Ol' Man River.
The latter was promoted to head of the market at 6-1 with BetVictor as John F Kennedy was eased out to 7-1 from 7-2 after his flop behind the race-fit Success Days (10-1) in the PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes.
Success Days, a winner at Cork eight days earlier, put his fitness to full use as he made all the running to take the Group Three contest over a mile and a quarter.
Shane Foley ensured a true test by setting a solid pace on the Ken Condon-trained colt, with the 1-4 shot John F Kennedy settled in second place by Ryan Moore and Zafilani bringing up the rear.
The writing was on the wall early in the straight and Success Days kicked clear to win unopposed, despite hanging left towards the rail, while Zafilani claimed the runner-up spot as John F Kennedy tired in the closing stages.
Condon said of the winner: "He has a very level temperament and a very good attitude. He won on his second start at 25-1 and it was a little unexpected. He keeps giving us nice surprises. He doesn't show a lot in the mornings at home, but obviously relishes those (testing) conditions.
"We said we'd make use of him as he had the run under his belt and possibly had the edge in fitness. The other two were always going to want a lead and it worked out great. I'm delighted."
On future plans, he added: "He's in the Irish Guineas, but has no other fancy entries. I think the Irish Derby is later closing now and that's something we could look at. I'm sure the favourite will come out and do great things in the summer, but it was our day today.
"I think he'll get further. The dam was Albany-placed, but he has such a relaxed way of doing things. He got a little bit anxious in a Listed race here last year and we drew a line through that. He was good at Cork and here today.
"He wintered well. He had been training well in the spring and was better than he showed last year, but he doesn't work like a Group horse at home. Sometimes those type of horses can improve and be very good."
Foley added: "I loved this horse last year. He just does enough. He only won by a length in Cork last week, but he relishes the ground.
"There was no pace today and he stays well. He almost ran off the track and there was a lot left in the locker. He had the fitness, he handled the ground well. If there were any question marks (about the favourite), I was going to find out. Had he run straight he would have been more impressive.
"It was testing ground out there, but it seems so easy for him. Maybe he is better on it. It's onwards and upwards with him. We don't know how good he is, but he's done that well today."