Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 18 November 2018

Mendelssohn shows well on return in US

'Athena won the Belmont Oaks for O'Brien, just a week after finishing third in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, while Hunting Horn finished third in the Belmont Derby.' Stock photo: Getty Images
'Athena won the Belmont Oaks for O'Brien, just a week after finishing third in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, while Hunting Horn finished third in the Belmont Derby.' Stock photo: Getty Images

Thomas Kelly

Mendelssohn finished third on his return to action in the Grade Three Dwyer Stakes over a mile on the dirt in Belmont.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt - having his first start since his Kentucky Derby disappointment - showed up well through the early stages, disputing matters with Noble Indy.

However, Firenze Fire came sweeping past the field off the bend and powered to an emphatic victory, with Mendelssohn being edged for second by Seven Trumpets.

O'Brien's assistant, TJ Comerford, said: "It was a good-run race. I'd say the Breeders' Cup Classic is still the ultimate goal, but he has a lot of bridges to cross before then."

Athena won the Belmont Oaks for O'Brien, just a week after finishing third in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, while Hunting Horn finished third in the Belmont Derby.

Meanwhile, John Gosden has raised the possibility of Roaring Lion and Enable meeting in the Juddmonte International at York next month.

While Roaring Lion continued on an upward curve by adding the Coral-Eclipse to his CV at Sandown on Saturday, getting the better of the Aidan O'Brien-trained Saxon Warrior in a thrilling finish, Enable has yet to run this season after suffering a knee problem early in May, when being prepared for the Coronation Cup.

Enable - whose stunning run of form last season included English and Irish Oaks success and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - is gradually being built up to return to action in the Juddmonte or the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

Closer to home, Xenobia sprang a surprise when getting up close to home to claim Group Three honours in the Brownstown Stud Stakes at Fairyhouse yesterday.

The four-year-old filly, trained by Bill Farrell, had plenty to do with a furlong to go but responded in game style for Chris Hayes to upset the O'Brien-trained Could It Be Love, which was second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

The 5/6 favourite looked like landing the spoils for the Ballydoyle stable when she hit the front two and a half furlongs out, but she had no answer to the late surge of 12/1 shot Xenobia, who got up by half a length.

Damselfly was a length and three-quarters away in third place, with the result meaning the Brownstown remains one of the very few races of note in Ireland to so far have eluded O'Brien.

Across the water, former trainer John Dunlop has died at the age of 78. Dunlop sent out more than 3,500 winners including 74 in Group One races, 10 of which were domestic Classics.

Irish Independent

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