Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 22 April 2018

O'Brien rolls back the years as Moore booked for Minding

O'Brien: “He took a nice tug the whole way and, in fairness to George, he said if he runs like he works he’ll have a good chance.” Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
O'Brien: “He took a nice tug the whole way and, in fairness to George, he said if he runs like he works he’ll have a good chance.” Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

Johnny Ward

Joseph O'Brien came out of retirement at Doncaster yesterday to win the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes - at the tender age of 23 - aboard Phosphorescence.

Making all on the George Scott-trained 7/1 chance, the promising handler showed that he has kept fit and healthy at his historic and punishing gallops in Piltown. And in an unwitting tribute to the days when he was rather too regularly falling foul of the stewards, O'Brien was deemed to have breached whip rules and fined £500.

"He took a nice tug the whole way and, in fairness to George, he said if he runs like he works he'll have a good chance," said the two-time Derby winner.


"It was a great experience. George said to keep it simple, which is why I went on so far out. But if I get back to the weighing room, I'll have done well: my legs are like jelly."

His dad Aidan has a couple of runners at the track today ahead of the British season's concluding Classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger, in which he has odds-on favourite Idaho, on Saturday. He has confirmed that Seamus Heffernan will steer Idaho, with Ryan Moore to focus entirely on Leopardstown's Qipco Irish Champion Stakes card.

Moore will ride Minding in the big one and Alice Springs in the Coolmore Matron Stakes, Somehow having been declared an improbable runner. Moore can also look forward to US Army Ranger and Douglas Macarthur on the high-class undercard.

At Doncaster today, Pretty Perfect, which bounced back from a moderate Irish Oaks offering to finish fourth to stablemate Seventh Heaven in the Yorkshire Oaks, has each-way credentials in the Group Two DFS Park Hill Stakes.

Seamus Heffernan rides that Galileo offspring, while another - The Anvil - has Ryan Moore's assistance and can go one better in the DFS British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes after a fine debut offering.

Trip To Paris is set to take his chance in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday after being taken out of tomorrow's Doncaster Cup at the final declaration stage. Moore will ride Clondaw Warrior, the Galway Plate hero, for Willie Mullins in the 250th running of the Doncaster Cup.

Connections of Trip To Paris are realistic about the horse's chance of beating the world's leading stayer Order Of St George at the Curragh, where the going was good to yielding yesterday.

Order Of St George and hot Vincent O'Brien National Stakes jolly Churchill are arguably the main equine attractions on the card, though it features three Group Ones throughout the last Champions Weekend renewal at the track before it gets bulldozed.

Chief executive Derek McGrath, a qualified vet, former Irish rugby international and one-time chief executive of European Club Rugby, hopes for around 10,000 spectators.

"We'll have plenty of British runners, albeit seemingly none from beyond the channel. Regarding the likely fields, we are very satisfied," said McGrath, who accepted the Curragh reins in April.

"The forecasts are a little all over the place. At the moment there might be a little rain but nothing horrendous. We could do with nice weather; we've done lots of promotion. If we go 10,000, that's a good crowd, given the circumstances."

Pressed on what circumstances he referred to, beyond the weather, McGrath admitted: "We are making a change here and, while we're hoping people will join us on the journey, others might probably come back when we're refurbished. I would say to them that the quality of the racing this Sunday is unbeatable.

"The redevelopment journey passed a very significant milestone in that planning is now complete so the project is definitely going ahead. We'll be redefining designs and hoping demolition will start early next year.

"In both 2017 and 2018 we'll have abridged seasons but with the same number of fixtures, starting in May and ending in September. We'll hopefully be fully in shape for the 2019 season."

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