Daddy Long Legs gives O'Brien timely fillip ahead of Kentucky


RACING:DADDY LONG Legs provided Aidan O’Brien with a landmark success in Dubai at the weekend and looks set to try and give Ireland’s champion trainer a historic Kentucky Derby victory next month.

The O’Brien-trained colt won Saturday’s UAE Derby at Meydan, a Group Two race, run on Tapeta, in which his stable companion Wrote finished third.

Daddy Long Legs failed to make any impression on the Churchill Downs dirt when down the field in last autumn’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but the Ballydoyle team appear willing to give the son of Scat Daddy another chance on the surface in America’s most famous race.

“He’s a beautiful action horse, great mover isn’t he, and got the trip well, didn’t he?” O’Brien said at the weekend when Colm O’Donoghue partnered last year’s Royal Lodge winner.

“He obviously is [by] Scat Daddy, the Scat Daddy’s you’d imagine that they’re all speed, but they seem to be improving from 2 to 3 – the ones we’ve been watching in America – and they seem like they’re going to get the trip, which is exciting really.”

O’Brien said he thought Daddy Long Legs was “lost” first time on the dirt at the Breeders’ Cup and reported: “We worked on that a little bit and he was stronger and more on the bridle here.”

Daddy Long Legs is now a 20/1 shot in some ante-post lists for Kentucky after the Derby picture was turned upside down by the unexpected defeat of the long-time favourite Union Rags at Gulfstream on Saturday.

No European runner has ever won the Kentucky Derby. Clive Brittain’s Bold Arrangement came closest when runner-up to Ferdinand in 1986.

O’Brien’s Master Of Hounds was runner-up in last year’s UAE Derby before finishing fifth to Animal Kingdom at Churchill Downs. The Irishman’s only other Kentucky Derby runners came 10 years ago when Johannesburg and Castle Gandolfo ran eighth and 12th behind War Emblem.

It was a mixed night at Meydan for the O’Brien team with So You Think finishing just fourth in the $10 million World Cup behind a Godolphin one-two of Monterosso and Capponi.

St Nicholas Abbey finished runner-up to Cirrus Des Aigles in the Sheema Classic where Treasure Beach faded to fourth. Await To Dawn faded badly in the Duty Free behind impressive British winner Cityscape.

Eddie Lynam was just denied a hugely valuable Al Quoz Sprint victory when Sole Power was overhauled in the closing stages by the Australian mare Ortensia.