Sunday 25 March 2018

Treasure leads trio home for O'Brien

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

For the fourth time in his remarkable career, Aidan O'Brien saddled the first three home in yesterday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh, as Treasure Beach emphatically confirmed the form of his second in the Epsom equivalent.

It was the Ballydoyle handler's sixth successive win in the prestigious mile and a half Classic, and an incredible ninth in all.

On an occasion that has an increasing element of Groundhog Day about it, the main variation in this year's result was Colm O'Donoghue's presence in the saddle.

A native of Buttevant, the 30-year-old has been a stalwart of O'Brien's team since his teens, and yesterday's triumph was a deserved reward for the services rendered.

Three times previously -- including the past two years -- O'Donoghue had been on the runner-up in the €725,000 showpiece, and O'Brien went out of his way afterwards to commend him for taking the first opportunity he got on the "form horse".


While it was the trainer's 26th success in an Irish Classic, it was the jockey's first. "I was confident coming here as I learned more about the horse at Epsom," a quietly elated O'Donoghue said of his mount, which returned at odds of 7/2.

"I've been riding out at Ballydoyle since I was 15 and I'm very grateful to the owners for the opportunities.

"It's a feeling of relief more than anything else as I had been placed in the race a number of times. I won a French Guineas before, but this means an awful lot to me."

Carlton House, the 5/4 favourite for the Group One which came here amid great expectation for his owner the queen, was no match for the home contingent.

Felt by those closest to him to have been an unlucky loser when third at Epsom, Michael Stoute's charge was beaten comprehensively again, keeping on at one pace for fourth.

The Joseph O'Brien-ridden Memphis Tennessee, which set a sensible gallop on the drying ground, swapped places with the favourite on their Epsom running, eventually finishing a length behind Seville in third place.

Having disappointed badly when just 10th three weeks ago, Seville was strongly fancied to leave that form behind yesterday.

As the field turned in and Memphis Tennessee began to wane, sure enough it was Seville that took control under Seamie Heffernan.

He looked the most likely to win from there, but O'Donoghue produced his mount from just off the pace to accelerate clear inside the final furlong and win going away by three parts of a length.

Coolmore's increasingly influential sire Galileo, already responsible for both of this year's Irish Guineas winners Roderic O'Connor -- which never got into contention yesterday -- and Misty For Me, had yet another good day, too.

Also responsible for the year's wonder horse Frankel, he sired the first two home here.

Speaking after his latest clean sweep, O'Brien, who had secured the previous afternoon's Group One when Misty For Me overturned the hot favourite Midday in the Stobart Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes, said: "The Epsom form has stood up well, and Seville, who puzzled us at Epsom, came back to form.

"Memphis Tennessee set a nice even pace and it seemed to suit all the horses. Colm was excellent on Treasure Beach and settled him beautifully before producing him brilliantly.

"Treasure Beach has progressed with every run and he has a few options now.

"He could go for the Grand Prix de Paris, the King George or else he could have a break before coming back for the second half of the season."

"We are very lucky in that his owners have decided to keep their horses in training as four-year-olds, and that gives us options with giving the three-year-olds breaks.

"Seville returned to form and Seamie (Heffernan) said he'll come forward from today's run. He is a possible for the Grand Prix de Paris.

"Memphis Tennessee will probably have a break now and will probably run in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York in August."

Irish Independent

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