Wednesday 21 March 2018

McNamara takes honours on Douglas Macarthur

McNamara, pictured, certainly will not object if Aidan O’Brien gives him the choice to ride Douglas Macarthur at Epsom. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
McNamara, pictured, certainly will not object if Aidan O’Brien gives him the choice to ride Douglas Macarthur at Epsom. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Johnny Ward

The human Douglas Macarthur was what they call a military brat - the child of a parent serving full-time in the US Armed Forces.

He would better his father's achievements, becoming an American five-star general and field marshal of the Philippine Army.

The equine version, despite prevailing at 7/1 in the Derrinstown Stud Derby trial Stakes at a sun-kissed Leopardstown, is hardly liable to upstage his dad Galileo.

The first three home were all by the great stallion and, if the race were run today, they would probably be one, two and three again - in a different order.

Emmet McNamara dictated on the one-time Derby favourite and, despite coming off the bridle pretty early in the straight, he was not for reeling in.

Capri, which tracked him for Colm O'Donoghue, gave it a good go, but never looked like getting there.

In contrast, Yucatan, which was pulled out to challenge by Seamus Heffernan and went 1/14 in running, seemed sure to pick him up but failed.

None of these appeals as a Derby winner but McNamara certainly will not object if Aidan O'Brien gives him the choice to ride Douglas Macarthur at Epsom.

He said: "His run the last day would lead you to believe that I probably was on the best of the three though there was little between them.

"The boss (O'Brien) felt that the other two had maybe slightly improved by him but they are three very, very nice horses in any case.

"It was nice to get on one of them and I'm glad he stuck his head in front at the right time.

"He was very tough for me - typical Galileo - head down, tries really, really hard and you'd nearly feel bad hitting him because he's trying so hard for you.

"He's very uncomplicated. I don't see any reason why he wouldn't act around Epsom: his sister (Was) won the Oaks there. He's a well-balanced horse."

O'Brien failed to take the Guineas trial, which was won in quite impressive fashion by Bean Feasa.

A Dubawi half-sister to Teofilo, she is living up to her page now, and Kevin Manning had a straightforward trip on the 100/30 favourite.

Trainer Jim Bolger said: "She relished the faster ground; obviously that opens up new opportunities for her.

"She can step up in trip later on and is going to be versatile. She doesn't want soft ground but I'd say she will be all right after that.

"We were happy enough going to Gowran last week but there was a downpour at 12 o'clock on Sunday and that scuppered her chance. She still ran well and recovered well. We'll have to see about the Guineas - I wouldn't rule it out."

Such is Jessica Harrington's good run, luck is shining too. She has won several close finishes over the past few weeks and only one of her last 46 runners has finished second.

She enjoyed a double ridden by Colm O'Donoghue, 9/1 chance Brother Bear winning the opener and Pincheck (3/1) getting up on the wire in the mile maiden at the conclusion of his first run since leaving Luca Cumani.

"Brother Bear has been smart in all his homework. Colm said he was a bit green jumping out but he got up to them easy and took a couple of blows. Royal Ascot definitely beckons.

"Colm gave (Pincheck) a bit of time and then he got stopped on his first run but he got going again. He's a beautiful big horse," she said.

Trainer Damian English will probably never know why Geological cost a paltry 800 guineas when sold out of Richard Hannon's.

He added another €15,990 to his tally in Ireland when snaring the seven-furlong handicap at 20/1 under Shane Foley, who rode an excellent front-running race.

Another horse that has been a dream to own, Custom Cut, took the Amethyst for David O'Meara and Danny Tudhope at 9/2.

The Sheila Lavery-trained Mandamus won the mile-and-a-half handicap under Leigh Roche at 7/1.

Fittingly, having carried all before him this weekend, O'Brien took the last with Belgravia (5/2), nicely ridden by daughter Ana.

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