O'Brien completes Guineas double
Racing:The well-backed Misty For Me (5-1) just got the better of stablemate Together to win the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Aidan O’Brien won the 2,000 Guineas 24 hours earlier with Roderic O’Connor and, just like the colt, Misty For Me had badly disappointed in the English equivalent.
However, Seamie Heffernan got a great tune out of his mount inside the final furlong to claim the scalp of luckless stablemate Together, who was also second at Newmarket.
Just in behind the two O’Brien runners was Jessica Harrington’s Laughing Lashes, who was another to return to her smart two-year-old form having flopped in the English Guineas.
Jim Bolger’s Claiomh Solais put the pace to the race and when her stable companion Banimpire loomed up large, it looked as though the Coolcullen maestro would be celebrating a one-two of his own It was the O’Brien pair, however, who fought out the finish, with three-quarters of a length separating them at the line — putting the seal on what has been a fantastic weekend for the Coolmore empire.
Earlier, So You Think made mincemeat of his Tattersalls Gold Cup rivals to tee up a crack at the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. The giant Australian import, trained by O’Brien, dwarfed his rivals down at the start, and the same was true as the race got under way as Ryan Moore cruised behind his pacemaker Windsor Palace until two furlongs from home.
Without much encouragement from the saddle the five-year-old pulled four and a half lengths clear of Godolphin’s classy Campanologist, while multiple winner Famous Name was well beaten in third.
“Ryan was delighted with him. The minute he asked him he responded immediately,” the Ballydoyle handler said of the 1-7 favourite. “The plan was here, and then the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. It was important that Ryan got a sit on him.
“He is an incredible horse. When you look at him in races you notice that the others are flat to the boards around him. He’d have no problem winning a mile Group One race. We’ll take it one race at a time with him and as regards riding plans we’re lucky to have some top-class riders around.”
O’Brien is beginning to sort his huge army of juveniles into some sort of order with Royal Ascot approaching. And after the success of Power on Saturday, Reply can confidently be added to the team after his stylish victory in the Big Bad Bob EBF Maiden.
Only Jjs Pride could live with the Seamie Heffernan-ridden winner up to halfway, but Reply (100-30) was still able to come home in splendid isolation once that rival was burned off. Eddie Lynam’s Slade Power made a nice introduction in second.
“I’m delighted with him. He had a lovely first run and came on for it,” added O’Brien. “He is a horse that is not short of speed and he can go over five or six furlongs. He is a Royal Ascot type and he’ll have an entry in the Norfolk and the Coventry Stakes.
“He travelled strongly from start to finish there.”
O’Brien later won a sixth consecutive renewal of the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes courtesy of Alexander Pope. The Danehill Dancer colt, backed off the boards into 3-1 favouritism, zipped clear of Smartcity inside the final furlong to collect this Group Three prize by a length and three-quarters.
Moriarty, trained by Richard Hannon, stayed on late in the day for second place.
“Alexander Pope might get further than a mile and a quarter,” considered O’Brien. “He’ll go to Royal Ascot now, or for the French Derby. He’s in the King Edward at Royal Ascot over a mile and a half.
He travels very well. He doesn’t do much when he hits the front which makes me think that he’ll get further.”
Bob Le Beau (10-1) was a game winner of the United Arab Emirates Handicap for Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley.