Friday 23 March 2018

O'Briens keep it in the family at Wexford

Sarah O’Brien teamed up with Kalopsia to win the closing Enniscorthy Mares INH Flat Race
Sarah O’Brien teamed up with Kalopsia to win the closing Enniscorthy Mares INH Flat Race

Graham Clark

The O'Brien family dominated proceedings at Wexford yesterday with trainer Aidan saddling three winners, and his son and two daughters taking the mounts.

Joseph O'Brien got the ball rolling as Los Barbados (9-4 favourite) landed the Follow Wexford Racecourse On Facebook Maiden while his sister Ana then steered Udogo (9-2) to victory in the first division of the Wexford Handicap.

Sarah O'Brien then teamed up with Kalopsia (13-8) to win the closing Enniscorthy Mares INH Flat Race meaning brother Donnacha was the only sibling not to have a winner after he had been narrowly denied aboard Cocoon in the Children's Day At Bettyville Handicap.

"It was a bit of sickener for Donnacha to be the only one of us not to have a winner," said Joseph. "We will pay for dinner for him on the way home to make it fair. "The horses are running well and long may it last. It's brilliant that all of us are riding. We all walked the track before racing and everyone knows what they are doing and we all do our best."

Former champion speedster Maarek showed he was no back number as landed his first win for 15 months with an authoritative success in the totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes at the East Yorkshire venue.

The Irish raider, trained by Evanna McCutcheon, lifted the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp in October 2013 but had not got his head in front since the following May when he took the Duke of York Stakes. However, things went the eight-year-old's way as he came from last to first under a typical Jamie Spencer ride.

Maarek (5-1) looked as though he could be in trouble a furlong out as he was behind a wall of horses as Ridge Ranger and Line Of Reason headed the field

But he produced an extra kick to assume control in the dying strides to gain a neck verdict over the 100-30 favourite Line Of Reason with Ridge Ranger a further length and a quarter back in third.

At Goodwood meanwhile, Kodi Bear further asserted his position as the apple of trainer Clive Cox's eye with a convincing success in the Doom Bar Celebration Mile. While sterner tests lie in store for the three-year-old, he passed his latest examination with flying colours after making light work of his elders to add the Group Two prize to his record.

The early stages of the mile contest saw Fire Ship and Cable Bay cut out the running with Gerald Mosse happy to tuck in behind the pair aboard the 4-5 favourite. Pat Dobbs' decision to take Fire Ship over to the stands side turning for home was swiftly covered by Mosse with the remaining runners soon following suit.

Once straightened up, Kodi Bear used his potent turn of foot to quickly change gear and open up a gap over his rivals that he maintained all the way to the line. Charting a path close to the stands side rails, the son of Kodiac only needed to be pushed out with hands and heels to post a three-and-a-quarter-length success and follow up his impressive win in the Group Three Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury last time out.

Bookmakers were quick to react to his victory with Coral cutting Kodi Bear from 10-1 to 8-1 for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October, while Paddy Power and Betfred went 7-1 and 6-1 respectively for the same race.

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