Tuesday 24 October 2017

Mars rockets into 2013 Derby frame

Thomas Kelly

THE early whispers at Dundalk yesterday were that Aidan O'Brien was about to unveil 'the next Camelot' -- and the horse at the centre of those favourable reports didn't disappoint.

Mars -- whose work on the Ballydoyle gallops had earned him a tall reputation -- is definitely a colt going places, after making the perfect start to his career with a successful debut on the all-weather surface.

Quoted at 12/1 by some firms for Epsom next June before he had even seen a racecourse, the O'Brien-trained colt made most of the running to take the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden with the minimum of fuss.

Joseph O'Brien brought the son of 2001 Derby hero Galileo from his wide draw to go across to the rail and soon went to the front. Winding up the gallop, the 4/7 shot pulled clear to beat his stable companion The Ferryman by four and three-quarter lengths.

"He has a really good attitude and is very uncomplicated," said the winning rider. "We've been waiting a while for a bit of nice ground. He would have had no problem starting off over six.

"He was green as it's his first run and he made the running -- you very rarely see them win on the bridle doing that. He won nicely and will come on for it."

Despite the obvious question mark over the strength of the opposition, Boylesports are now as short as 10/1 for next year's Derby.

The O'Brien team had earlier struck with George Vancouver, which got off the mark at the third time of asking in the six-furlong maiden for juveniles.

The 11/8 favourite was prominent throughout and O'Brien Jnr kicked on at the furlong pole to record a cosy three-and-a-quarter length success over Lottie Dod. "He's always shown plenty of speed from day one. I'd imagine he'll step up to listed or group class now," said O'Brien Jnr.

Regular Ballydoyle jockey Colm O'Donoghue was fortunate to escape serious injury in a dramatic running of the featured one-mile handicap -- he was thrown to the ground when leader Muck 'N' Brass jinked to his left and crashed into the running rail.

The contest was won by the David Marnane-trained Suehail, which battled bravely under Fergal Lynch to beat Barrow Island by a neck. "We might think about the Topaz Mile at Galway," said Marnane of the 5/2 favourite.

Also bound for Galway could be Jessica Harrington's Go On Murt, winner of the Follow Dundalk On Facebook Handicap in the hands of Fran Berry.

Berry went on to record a double when the in-form rider partnered Eddie Lynam's Atmospheric High to victory in the concluding 10-furlong handicap. The 12/1 shot, which sported cheekpieces, chased down front-runner Golan Heights inside the final furlong to record a half-length success.

Irish Independent

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