Marengo fails to excite but O'Brien satisfied
AIDAN O'Brien landed his fourth Derby trial in as many days at Leopardstown, but the success of Battle Of Marengo in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial was far from impressive.
The son of Galileo colt took over from Dont Bother Me around five furlongs out and it looked like he would win with ease when going clear with quarter of a mile to run.
However, the 2/13 market leader had to get a reminder from Joseph O'Brien, and in the end was pushed out to beat Loch Garman by a length and three-quarters, with Little White Cloud in third. The winner is now top-priced at 5/1 for Epsom glory and O'Brien was satisfied by the workmanlike display.
"We had to go on with him or it would have been a very steady pace," explained the trainer, who will run Indian Chief in the Dante at York on Thursday. "You would have to be happy with him. He is lazy in front, but he gave a good blow afterwards – he loves fast ground as he is a great mover."
Duntle made a perfectly satisfactory reappearance with victory in the Amethyst Stakes.
The David Wachman-trained filly was having her first start since being demoted from first place in the Matron Stakes at this track in September, having been ruled to have interfered with Henry Cecil's Chachamaidee.
The 8/13 favourite appeared to idle in the final furlong, but was always holding runner-up Custom Cut. Duntle holds an entry in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (formerly the Windsor Forest) at Royal Ascot, and looks set for a trip to the big meeting.
Just Pretending initiated an O'Brien double when she took the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial. The 6/1 shot only broke her maiden at Navan on Tuesday, and made a positive move once straightened for home.
Wachman's Hint Of A Tint, which had been disappointing when favourite on her seasonal bow, put down a strong challenge, but Just Pretending pulled out enough to prevail by a neck. "She could go for the Guineas (at the Curragh on May 26) now and she might step up to a mile and a quarter," said O'Brien Snr.
Sacred Aspect ran out a determined winner of the opening juvenile contest and is set for better things. The Ken Condon-trained two-year-old raced prominently with Dermot Weld's pacesetter Ealain Aibrean throughout, taking over the lead around a furlong from home.
Weld's runner battled back, but was a neck down on Shane Foley's mount at the line.
Eoin Griffin's Fairview Star landed the 12-furlong handicap under Declan McDonogh, while Tadhg O'Shea continued his good run in the closing maiden by guiding Pat Shanahan's Ralston Road to a gutsy success.