It was another red letter day in the brief but fruitful training career of Joseph O’Brien this weekend as his Latrobe won the Irish Derby under his brother Donnacha O’Brien. This was a first classic victory for the fledgeling 25-year-old trainer with a horse that was given very little chance by many.
The lightly raced son of Camelot took four runs to shed his maiden tag and in doing so did not impress people particularly the handicapper who actually dropped him a pound for this win. Latrobe raced prominently throughout and found plenty under pressure to beat the Aidan O’Brien trained Rostropovich.
Hopefully, those of you who read the Irish Derby Preview heeded the advice and had a nice priced winner of the Derby!
The Group 2 Railway Stakes was the feature for the two year olds at the Curragh where once again A P O’Brien was in the winner’s enclosure, with Van Beethoven. The son of Scat Daddy has seen plenty of the racecourse this season and a fine run in the Windsor Castle attributed to the colt starting odds-on.
This success marked a 14th in the race for Aidan O’Brien who said afterwards:
“In an ideal world, he might have preferred a stronger pace. Ryan said he was a little bit keen but he galloped home”.
Withhold was a runaway winner of the feature Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday under a fantastic front-running ride from Robert Winston. Since the addition of cheekpieces, Roger Charlton’s gelded son of Champs Elysees has gone from strength to strength.
Having been the ante-post plunge horse Withhold was notably weak in the market on the day, following reservations from Charlton surrounding the gelding’s fitness, these were unfounded as he routed his field by nearly 3 lengths.
The long-term aim is now a trip down under to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup with Charlton saying:
“He’s now qualified to go to Melbourne, having won two heritage handicaps, so it’s just a question of getting him there on the right weight”.
Charlton has valuable Melbourne Cup experience having saddled Quest For More to finish ninth in 2015.
On Sunday Saint Cloud played host to the Group 1 Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud and it was the Andre Fabre trained Waldgeist. The Galileo colt beat Coronet and Salouen in a thrilling race which turned into somewhat of a sprint. It was another fantastic run from Salouen who almost pulled off the shock of the season when going down narrowly to Cracksman in the Coronation Cup last month.
“He didn’t stop, he kept going and they sprinted past him,” said Kirk. “I think he might even go further. I’m pleased with his run but disappointed he didn’t get his day”.
At the Curragh, Urban Fox sprung a mild surprise in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes when taking the scalp of Oaks winner Forever Together. This was no fluke as the daughter of Foxwedge powered away from her rivals having run well in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot the previous week,
William Haggas said afterwards:
“It never really looked in doubt, she took it up two and a half furlongs from home and just kept on going. Obviously, I am chuffed as it is her first stakes win”.
Both the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Beverly D at Arlington are under consideration for this four-year-old mare who seems to have found her ideal trip.
There was an opportunity for the stayers to strut their stuff in the Group 2 Curragh Cup which was won by future Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling last season. The race with the exception of last year has been farmed by Aidan O’Brien with four of the previous five contests going his way and this year was no different as Flag of Honour led home a 1-2 for the champion trainer.
Even though he was the choice of Ryan Moore the son of Galileo was sent off as the supposed second string but after a smooth length and a half victory, it was very apparent to all, that Flag of Honour is a quality colt.
These sentiments were reiterated by O’Brien post-race:
“Ryan thought that the trip was no problem for him and he said he handles an ease as well as fast ground,. He said he could be a Leger horse and could turn into a Melbourne Cup horse”.