Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 18 July 2019

Sovereign rules as O'Brien bags lucky 13

Trainer Aidan O'Brien and Padraig Beggy with Sovereign after winning Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Photo: PA/WIRE
Trainer Aidan O'Brien and Padraig Beggy with Sovereign after winning Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Photo: PA/WIRE

Thomas Kelly

It came as no surprise that Aidan O'Brien won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby for the 13th time at the Curragh, but Saturday's showpiece race still produced a shock, as his 33/1 long shot Sovereign led home his four stablemates after running his rivals ragged from the minute the stalls opened.

O'Brien supplied the first three home, but Epsom hero Anthony Van Dyck could get to within only six lengths of the Padraig Beggy-ridden winner.

Sovereign made all, seeing off Norway with two furlongs to run and coming home in splendid isolation, with the latter edging out a below-par Madhmoon for third.

In truth the story was more about the jockey than the horse, as Beggy also partnered Wings Of Eagles to glory at Epsom two years ago and unbelievably the Meath native was riding his first winner of the season.

"I'm over the moon. This would be more important to me (than the Epsom Derby) as an Irishman, the Irish Derby," said Beggy.

"I served my time with Kevin Prendergast just up the road and this was the race that you grew up wanting to win. That was my main aim as an apprentice.

"I'm just very, very lucky that I've won the English Derby and the Irish Derby. That is down to a big group of people, but I would have to say mainly Aidan O'Brien to put me on. Aidan would give you confidence and that helps.

"I just got into a lovely, comfortable rhythm and I felt like I could go quicker all through the race. My horse really enjoyed it here, a big galloping track.

"I knew I was after quickening and lengthening up the straight. I did think that something would be coming to me, but when I was close enough to have a peep at the big screen I knew I was clear.

"I just said keep him organised to the line now, you've won. Dreams come true!"

Ladbrokes slashed the price of Sovereign in half for the St Leger, going 10/1 for the Doncaster Classic.

"The winner is a staying horse and he's going to stay well. He won't mind going the Leger trip," said O'Brien.

"He's a solid horse to have because he'll jump and he'll go along in any kind of good race.

"He could go to the King George or go to the Grand Prix de Paris in France and then could have a break and go to the Leger. He's a solid horse and very uncomplicated. Padraig gave him a great ride.

"Ryan's (Moore) horse (Anthony Van Dyck) ran very well. He was the only horse to chase after him (Sovereign), but probably Padraig was gone at the time.

"I thought he ran very well. We were going to decide with him after this whether we go to the Grand Prix de Paris or the King George.

"I'd say they are still options as there was nothing wrong with the run. Broome never got going at all."

Ger Lyons' Siskin looks a juvenile out of the top drawer after his two-and-a-half-length verdict over O'Brien's Monarch Of Egypt in the GAIN Railway Stakes.

"Hopefully we can get this guy in one piece to the Phoenix and hopefully he's still the best around at the time," said Lyons.

"I keep expecting Aidan to pull one out of the hat, because he normally does - and when he does, none of us will be surprised. But hopefully I can win that Group One."

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