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Saturday 25 November 2017

A fine Derby dozen

Another remarkable week for O’Brien

Weekly news by Pegasus

Trainer Aidan O'Brien lifts the trophy after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby with Capri on Saturday
Trainer Aidan O'Brien lifts the trophy after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby with Capri on Saturday

It was another remarkable week for Wexford's Aidan O'Brien and the mammoth operation he heads at Ballydoyle, highlighted by notching his twelfth Dubai Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday evening with Capri, the 6/1 shot ridden by long-serving Seamie Heffernan.

There's no denying the 47-years-old Adamstown native has powerful ammunition at his disposal but there's also no denying that it is his genius that translates that ammunition into unprecedented results.

His predecessor at Ballydoyle, the late Vincent O'Brien, is rightly revered for his record at all levels of horse racing, but it puts Aidan's achievements into some perspective that he has won double the number of Irish Derbies captured by Vincent.

His Epsom winner, Wings of Eagles, went off 2/1 favourite and ran well but could not peg back Capri, which also held off John Gosden's English challenger, Cracksman, in a driving finish.

He had two other nice priced winners on the card to rack up rewarding treble - US Navy Flag (13/2) also under Heffernan, and Asking (8/1), ridden by daughter Ana. Unusually, leading jockey Ryan Moore had a blank day amidst all the O'Brien success.

Moore made up for this on Sunday when he rode all three winners as O'Brien weighed in with another treble - Gustav Klimpt (11.8), Johannes Vermeer (5/2) and Clemmie (5/2), this last one being called after Winston Churchill's wife.

O'Brien began the three-day Curragh Dubai Derby Festival with a winner in the first on Friday evening, his son Donnchadh scoring on Happily (8/11) to set the Ballydoyle/Coolmore juggernaut in motion.

This was his only winner on that card though there were quite a few placings. Jim Bolger kept the Wexford flag flying when Kevin Manning won again on Clongowes (5/2f) in the €26,000 handicap.

O'Brien has been keeping things ticking over very nicely on the home front in addition to his Classic and international commitments and he had a treble on Wednesday evening at Naas, son Donnchadh booting home the best-priced Key to my Heart (7/1).

On Monday at Kilbeggan, Wexford connections had to be content with a couple of placings, Seán Flanagan on Mr. Showtime(9/4) for Noel Meade in a novice hurdle, where J.J. Slevin was third on Liz Doyle's Mozilla, and Slevin was second on Milestone Prince (5/1) for Michael McCullough in a handicap hurdle.

Pat McDonald from Taghmon had another very good week in Britain with five winners and is keeping himself right up in the top dozen in the jockeys' table.

On Tuesday, he got a double at Leicester for Mark Johnston, on Hope Against Hope (7/1) in a one-mile handicap, and on Love Oasis (3/1) in the concluding six-furlong handicap.

The Taghmon man has been keeping himself very busy and had earlier ridden two at Beverley, but had to be content with a second place.

Pat Dobbs got on the mark for the week at Salisbury on Wednesday with Christopher Wood (5/1) for Ralph Beckett.

He kept up the good work with winners at two different venues on Thursday, both for Beckett.

He went to Newmarket for just one ride, Mistress Quickly scoring in the 2.40.

He then headed to Newbury for two more and won on one of them, Time Change, in the fillies' novice stakes.

McDonald had a full book of rides at Newcastle but his first was his only winner, Kit Marlowe for Mark Johnston in a seven-furlong two-year old race.

He followed up with another good-priced double at Newmarket on Saturday - winning by a neck on Lord Yeats at 9/1 and Roar (13/2) for Brian Ellison.

New Ross veteran Jimmy Quinn experienced the frustrating side of flat racing on Friday - he travelled to two meetings for a single ride at each, and both came second.

He lost by a length on 25/1 shot Fabulous Red for Ed Dunlop to Eirene (5/2f) in the first at Doncaster, travelled for the first at Newmarket that evening, and lost by a head on Trulee Scrumptious (2/1f) for Charlie Hills.

Wexford People

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