No glory for O'Brien at the Curragh


Racing – Curragh Report:Aidan O’Brien’s message was not to write off Fame And Glory despite the Irish Derby winner fading into third on his comeback at the Curragh today.

The colt’s defeat by evergreen mare She’s Our Mark in the New Tote Sports Lounge Alleged Stakes was a bitter pill to swallow for those who backed the 2-5 favourite, but they will have to seek solace in the fact there will clearly be far more to come.

Had Sea The Stars not been around last year, Fame And Glory would have four Group Ones on his tally rather than just two and he is still likely to be seen in top-flight action next.

There was an unsteady pace to much of the 10-furlong Listed event, causing Fame And Glory to pull quite hard, but he was still in contention at the furlong marker before he weakened and was eased home by Johnny Murtagh.

“He got tired but we were delighted,” said O’Brien. “It was tough going out there - it’s tacky ground - but we needed to get him to the racecourse.

“Don’t be disappointed. If everything went well, the Prix Ganay was the plan and then the Tattersalls Gold Cup. We will just have to see how forward he is before the Ganay.”

Slightly ignored was She’s Our Mark (12-1), who stayed on a length clear of Popmurphy in positively tropical conditions in County Kildare.

Trainer Pat Flynn said: “She’s an unreal mare and seems even better this year. She will probably go for the Mooresbridge Stakes now.”

John Oxx has no illusions about Keredari filling the void left by Sea The Stars but the pragmatic trainer nominated the son of Oasis Dream as his best three-year-old after a stylish display in the New Tote Sport Lounge Loughbrown Stakes.

Keredari (4-1) was third in a Group Three after a maiden victory last term and Fran Berry sent him to the front from the outset and left enough in reserve to take the Listed prize by four lengths.

“I’ve no lofty ambitions this year you know,” said Oxx, whose feet remained on terra firma all last season despite his incredible haul from peerless champion Sea The Stars.

“If I have any that are going to shake them up a bit this year, he’s the one.

“He’s fairly adaptable ground-wise and was going to run two weeks ago before his scope was not 100 per cent.

“He’ll run in the Irish Guineas now, there’s no need to run him again before then, and hopefully he could run into a place there.”

O’Brien’s Alfred Nobel was beat one home but the trainer warned: “He’s a speed horse and we’ll probably go back (in trip) with him. I remember (top sprinter) Stravinsky was beaten in this.”

Oxx’s hopes of taking the Gladness Stakes were undone by one of his former charges as the Murtagh-ridden Kargali (10-1) defeated 6-4 favourite Rayeni.

Kargali’s new handler Luke Comer was represented by Paul Kinane, who said: “He has had his problems but has come right in the last two and a half weeks.

“We’ll see how he comes out of this now. Rayeni will have bigger targets, so this was our day.”

Despite his slow start, O’Brien claimed his first juvenile winner and just his second success of the new campaign through Samuel Morse in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

Samuel Morse (7-1) was the stable’s apparent second string with Murtagh selecting Oracle (2-1 favourite) instead but he shot up the stands rail under a patient Seamie Heffernan to beat Brookley Lady by a comfortable length and a half.

“He’s a lovely big horse and we’ve always liked him. Seamus got a lovely opening up the rail” said O’Brien.

“Both horses have run nice races - they have never been on grass.

“There’s nothing for him at the moment - no winners’ races. He would get six furlongs but he has plenty of speed.”

O’Brien ended the day on a winning note when the Murtagh-ridden Rocket Man (9-2) claimed the concluding 10-furlong maiden.

Paul Deegan is becoming an increasingly prominent trainer on the scene but would certainly welcome more like Celtic Soprano (7-1), who snatched back the Handicap despite being briefly passed by 7-2 favourite Tovaria.

“They just do not come any tougher and I love her to bits,” said Deegan.

“I didn’t think last season she’d be winning a mile-and-a-half race at the Curragh and we’ll have to look for some black type now.

“I’d say the mile and six Vintage Crop at Navan will be the next port of call.”

Deegan later turned to the well-thought-of apprentice Kieran O’Neill to help Daffodil Walk (11-2) bloom in the Browns Shopfitting & Construction Handicap.