Trading Leather lands knockout blow in the Irish Derby
Seven-year dominance of Aidan O’Brien ended by Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning team at the Curragh
His better known stable companion Dawn Approach finished last at Epsom but Trading Leather managed to do the exact opposite with a gallant success in this evening’s Dubai Duty Freee Irish Derby at the Curragh.
It was a first success in Ireland’s premier classic for veteran jockey Kevin Manning and a first Curragh Derby for trainer Jim Bolger, since St Jovite scored 21 years ago.
The Epsom hero Ruler of the World could never get a blow in after racing at the rear of the field and finished fifth, while Godolphin’s Libertarian beat only one home.
Victory for the Bolger-Manning team brought to an end Aidan O’Brien’s seven-year winning streak and it was, in fact, his outsider Festive Cheer who eclipsed the favourite when finishing third.
Galileo Rock, owned by controversial Cork developer Michael O’Flynn and trained by David Wachman, improved to the runner-up spot today after a third-placed finish at Epsom.
“It probably goes down as a career-topping day,” said Bolger afterwards. “It doesn’t really get any better than this. We were pleased with his run in the Dante, as we hadn’t had a good run with him up to that.
“We got a bit sidetracked with running him in the Guineas here and I suppose if nothing else we made it a good pace that day! We’ve had this race in mind all along. He would have gone to Epsom if Dawn Approach hadn’t been there. This horse needs a good strong gallop, whereas we weren’t sure about the stamina of Dawn Approach.
“I hope he’s entered in all the big races, but we need to be careful about the going, as he likes nice underfoot conditions. The dam is by Sinndar, so I never had doubts about his stamina, although others did.”
Manning was delighted to finally break his duck in Ireland’s premier Classic.
“I was a bit afraid of getting to the front too soon,” he said. “He gallops and he has pace. It means an awful lot to me to win this race. I missed the chance before when New Approach was taken out late on.”
Wachman was delighted with the effort of the runner-up.
“He ran well. The winner won well but we made of a race of it and I’m very happy with that. He’s definitely stepped forward (from Epsom). These three-year-olds need to step forward through the year and he’ll need to step forward again from here.
“Jim’s horse travelled particularly well, we stayed on but I think the winner won with bit up his sleeve.”
Wachman claimed the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Railway Stakes for the second successive year as 5/1 shot Sudirman sprang a minor surprise in the hands of Wayne Lordan.
O’Brien’s Norfolk Stakes runner-up Coach House was unsurprisingly all the rage for the Group Two contest, sent off an 8/15 favourite just nine days after his fine Royal Ascot display.
But while the juvenile loomed up menacingly over a furlong out, his challenge came to nothing and he eventually trailed home a well beaten third.
Sudirman had opened his account at the third attempt at Leopardstown last week and knuckled down to his task well to get up and beat the promising Big Time by half a length in a driving finish.
Wachman, who won the race with Probably 12 months ago, said: “He did it well. He’s a bit of a slow learner, but he’s improving with each run and was going away at the line.
“Maybe we’ll step up to seven furlongs, as that won’t do him any harm. Wayne gave him a good ride. I’ll have to speak to the owners. They were thinking about Glorious Goodwood, but he’s a Group Two winner now, so we may have to think again.
“We may have to travel, because the Hays (Fitri and Jim Hay, part owners) would like to enjoy him as well.”
Lordan completed a quickfire double when exciting sprinter Slade Power opened his account for the year with a stylish display in the Woodies DIY Sapphire Stakes.
Running in the same colours as last week’s King’s Stand hero Sole Power, the less-experienced Slade Power also made the trip to Royal Ascot, and was not disgraced in finishing seventh in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Coming back to the minimum distance, the four-year-old travelled noticeably well on the heels of the leaders and showed smart acceleration when asked the question by Lordan.
The 11-4 favourite finished off the five-furlong Group Three strongly to beat the staying-on Russian Soul, with British raider Morawij in third.
Winning trainer Eddie Lynam said: “He’s a bit special as the owners bred him as well. He’s a bit like his trainer in that he’s taken a while to get his act together!
“He’s still a big, raw horse and he’s still learning about racing. He only lost three kilos at Ascot so we decided to come here and we will look now at the July Cup. He broke his pelvis last year at Ascot and he spent three months over there recovering and full credit to those who looked after him.”
Count Of Limonade outbattled Scintillula to land Listed honours in the Dubai Duty Free Millenium Millionaire Celebration Stakes.
Trained by O’Brien and ridden by his son Joseph, Count Of Limonade was sent off a 7-2 chance for the one-mile heat after narrowly losing out at this level earlier in the month.
Scintillula set out to make all under Kevin Manning and while she dug deep as Count Of Limonade challenged, she eventually went down by half a length.
Captain Joy was back in third, while favourite Caponata failed to make the frame in fourth.
“He is tough and very like his daddy (Duke Of Marmalade),” O’Brien snr said. “He is getting better with age. He likes fast ground and a mile and a quarter is no problem for him. We will look for a Group race for him now.”
Additonal reporting by Agencies