O'Brien lands double and a three-day ban
IT was a day of contrasting fortunes for Joseph O'Brien at The Curragh yesterday where the title-chasing apprentice's joy at riding a double was offset by a three-day ban.
The promising young rider is already facing a hearing into two appeals and a referral at the Irish Turf Club today after picking up a two-day ban at Dundalk and four days at Listowel recently.
O'Brien, son of Ballydoyle supremo Aidan, was suspended for three days for misusing his whip aboard Battleoftrafalgar, which landed the closing maiden after a succession of placed efforts.
In addition, his father was fined €200 for issuing riding instructions which contributed to a breach of the whip guidelines.
O'Brien is involved in a thrilling battle for the Irish apprentice title and his two winners -- he also rode Waydownsouth to victory for Pat Flynn in the mile handicap -- put him level on 33 for the season with Ben Curtis and Gary Carroll.
John Oxx has not had much to shout about this season after the highs of last summer, but his horses are in rude health now.
After saddling a one-two in a Listed race at The Curragh on Sunday, he trained a near-33/1 double yesterday.
Both History Note in the seven-furlong juvenile fillies maiden and Riynaaz (11/4) in the nine-furlong version were newcomers, with the latter particularly impressive.
"We're in form at the wrong end of the year but that was nice as this one (Riynaaz) was a very backward two-year-old. She likes that ground and she'll have to be upped in class now," said 'Slim' O'Neill, Oxx's representative.
"That distance would be the minimum that she could win over. The Trigo Stakes (Leopardstown, October 25) would probably be the only option for her now."
History Note (8/1) just got the better of a tight finish with Rose Bonheur in the opener. Fran Berry, who was aboard both, said: "The last two foals of the dam won first time out so we were hopeful this one could do the same. She was very professional."
Kevin Prendergast unleashed another useful newcomer in the shape of well-backed 13/8 favourite Handassa in the auction maiden, beating Deire Na Sli by five lengths.
"She raced very lazy but once I got upsides Kevin (Manning on Deire Na Sli), I gave her a flick and she picked up well," said winning jockey Declan McDonogh. "She has a good attitude -- a lovely filly... she kept going all the way to the line."