Sons outshine father in Derby glory
How do you stop Aidan O'Brien winning a 13th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby? Put his two sons on the case was the answer, after brothers Joseph and Donnacha combined to beat their father when Latrobe outstayed the Ballydoyle quartet Rostropovich, Saxon Warrior, Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon, in that order, to lead home an O'Brien 1-2-3-4-5 in Ireland's premier Flat race at the Curragh.
Joseph O'Brien was calling Latrobe, owned by Australian Lloyd Williams, his 'Derby' horse before Cheltenham in March, and though he never made it to Epsom, it was a masterstroke by the 25-year-old trainer to give the Camelot colt a confidence-boosting run in a maiden on his previous start, instead of going to Epsom.
The 14/1 shot was handy all the way, sitting on Rostrovopich's quarters as the Ballydoyle pacemaker cut out the running. Silvestre De Sousa was busy enough on the Epsom runner-up Dee Ex Bee (seventh) and though Old Persian (sixth) threatened to get involved two out, it was only a threat.
However, it was Saxon Warrior, the evens-favourite, who emerged as the biggest threat inside the final furlong but, though he finished one place closer than he did at Epsom, the 2,000 Guineas winner could never quite get on terms and at the line Latrobe seemed to be going away again to win by half a length.
Joseph O'Brien, who combined twice with his father to win the Irish Derby twice as a jockey, is making a habit of winning some of the world's bigger races.
Last November he won the Melbourne Cup with Rekindling, also owned by Williams, and he also won the Irish Gold Cup over jumps with Edwulf in February. Aidan O'Brien, who also had to settle for second in the Melbourne, appeared genuinely happier to be beaten by his sons than he would have been beating them.
"Incredible, an unbelievably special day," he said. "The two lads work so hard day in, day out and Irish racing is very hard. I was hoping all the way up the straight we wouldn't chin him but if we had they'd have been as pleased for us as we are for them."
Jockey Donnacha O'Brien, winning his third Classic of the season after the English 2,000 Guineas and Oaks, said: "I didn't plan to be that forward but the pace was slow. I held that position and he stayed really well. It's pretty incredible and not really sinking in yet."
Van Beethoven had earlier given Aidan O'Brien his 13th victory in the GAIN Railway Stakes with a hard-fought success in the Group Two contest over six furlongs. The Scat Daddy colt dug deep for Ryan Moore to hold the persistent challenge of the Mark Johnston-trained Marie's Diamond. "He's a very good horse," said Moore. "At Ascot things didn't quite work out for him and I think the step up to six furlongs today suited him. I still expect him to improve when he gets into a deeper contest. I think he's better than what he's showed today, he's got an awful lot of ability and in a deeper contest you'll see a better horse."
Yesterday's other 'Derby,' the Stobart Rail and Civils Northumberland Plate, otherwise known as the Pitmen's Derby, was won by 5/1 favourite Withhold.
The five-year-old, trained by Roger Charlton and owned by Tony Bloom, had already turned one of last season's top staying handicaps, the Cesarewitch, into a procession and did the same in Newcastle's most prestigious Flat race, making all the running under Robert Winston.
Allowed to do that at a dawdle, he soon put the race to bed when quickening clear two out and beat Prince of Arran two-and-three-quarter lengths. The only handicap he will be able to contest after this is the Melbourne Cup, for which he received a 20/1 quote, but the season's remaining Cup races could also come into the reckoning.