Sunday 18 March 2018

O'Brien Jnr steals show on Robin Hood

Damien McElroy

BRILLIANCE with horses clearly runs in the family as Aidan O'Brien's son Joseph last night showed that he has a way with equine bluebloods.

The young rider visited the winner's enclosure on his first ride at Ballybrit as he landed the two-year-old maiden on Robin Hood for his father Aidan.

O'Brien Jnr gave further evidence he has rapidly developed into a smart young jockey with a fine effort from the front in the (C&G) EBF Maiden.

The 9/4 chance -- which was beaten last time out -- was strongly pressed by Tashqeel throughout the final furlong, but O'Brien's 7lb claim again looked great value as he hung on for victory by three quarters of a length.

The winner's stablemate Alexander Pope was the same distance away in third, while market leader A Word Apart blew his chance with a tardy start that left Pat Smullen's mount playing catch-up in vain.

The young jockey said: "That's my first ride here at the Festival and it's great to get a winner. I knew my horse stayed very well. I walked the track and I was happy to bounce out and go myself.

"He was idling in front and when they came for me he quickened up, they were never really going to go by him and he did it well in the end.

"He keeps improving, he'll hopefully stay further and be better on better ground."

The young O'Brien has been earning plaudits from many observers in recent weeks and earlier this month he travelled all the way to Ayr in Scotland to ride a winner for English trainer Amy Weaver.

Aidan himself was not present at Galway as he is busily preparing his team for this week's Glorious Goodwood meeting.

Meanwhile, Paul Deegan's Enjoy Your Life landed a gamble (14/1 to 7/1) to win the & Handicap at Galway.

Ridden by Willie Supple, the son of Zafeen chased the leaders before eventually getting to the front inside the final furlong for a half-length win over Footprint.

Afterwards, Deegan stated: "Enjoy Your Life has always shown ability but was mentally fragile as a two-year-old and the ground was a bit quick for him mid-season. The first-time cheek pieces worked well and hopefully he can win again."

Irish Independent

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