Friday 23 February 2018

O'Brien's son and daughter continue family tradition as 'Arya' takes apprentice derby

WHILE Aidan O'Brien has designs on this evening's showpiece contest at the Curragh, the Ballydoyle supremo's son Joseph and daughter Ana combined to land the first derby of the weekend as Arya Tara claimed the apprentices' version.

The success was a real family affair as the 7/1 shot carried the colours of the siblings' mother Annemarie, who must have been pleased as Ana sent the three-year-old to the front two furlongs out and the daughter of Dylan Thomas stayed on well to beat Brokopondo by two lengths.

The victory completed a double for trainer Joseph as he had earlier sent out 9/4 favourite Reckless Gold - making his seasonal debut - to run away with the one-mile maiden for three-year-olds in the hands of his brother Donnacha. This was the young trainer's 11th victory in the 19 days he's had his licence.

John Oxx captured the night's feature race, the €50,000 EBF 'Ragusa' Handicap, with Avenante (6/1), which came with a storming late run under Gary Halpin to beat runner-up Intisari by two and a half lengths.

The Curragbeg handler revealed afterwards that owner Sally Grassick is currently on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and noted "that it clearly worked".

There was a notable milestone achieved in the Silken Thomas & Lock 13 Handicap over ten furlongs as the Jim Bolger-trained Qatari Hunter (2/1 favourite) completed a hat-trick .

Ridden by Bolger's stable jockey Kevin Manning, the son of Footstepsinthesand was forced to dig deep and the pair showed great determination to see off the late challenge of Alishan by a length.

Across the water, Orion's Bow completed a four-timer with a convincing victory in the featured Gosforth Park Cup at Newcastle.

A 6lb penalty could not stop the in-form sprinter from the Dandy Nicholls' stable from adding to his six-furlong victories at Thirsk, Catterick and on this course over the minimum trip.

Bosham made the early running in this five-furlong dash but Barry McHugh always looked confident on Orion's Bow and the well-backed 9/4 favourite quickly put the race to bed.

Bowson Fred tried to put in a strong challenge but was still one length down at the line. Memories Galore was a further length and a quarter away in third place.

Irish Independent

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