O'Brien lands four timer

 

A SPLENDID 348 to 1 four timer for champion jumps trainer Aidan O'Brien was highlighted by a runaway success for Shell Ginger in the Bord Gais Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday.

O'Brien also saddled the odds on No Slouch in Michael Tabor's colours but it was Shell Ginger and young Seamus Heffernan who commanded the race.

Shell Ginger bounced smartly out of the stalls in the seven furlong Group Three event and was already the best part of a dozen lengths clear before they had covered two furlongs.

"The soft ground really suited Shell Ginger who Christy Roche felt could be an Oaks filly after she won her maiden so well at Gowran Park. When mine are well and in good form, they all do their best," remarked trainer O'Brien.

He reckoned the fourth placed No Slouch would be more effective on better ground.

Heffernan, meanwhile, leaves for California next week where he will work for leading American trainer D Wayne Lukas.

Roche described the ground as like a "ploughed field" after scoring on O'Brien's Plaza De Torosin the opening EBF Maiden.

"He's still a big baby but is one for next year," said the Ballydoyle based handler, who was back in the winners' enclosure after Royal Mountbrowne made all under a great ride from Trevor Horgan to hold Feathered Gale by the minimum margin in the chase.

Royal Mountbrowne is climbing up the ratings and there is not an awful lot left for him here, but he would be an ideal horse for England where there are greater opportunities in conditions chases," said O'Brien.

Theatreworld recorded a double for Mrs Magnier and completed the four timer for the O'Brien team when defying top weight with an impressive seven length victory in the handicap hurdle under John Butler.

"He had a wind operation after Punchestown in April and will come back here for the November Handicap before going on the Champion Hurdle route," said O'Brien.

Asmara belatedly opened her account for the season for owner breeder the Aga Khan and champion trainer John Oxx when giving Pat Smullen his first success for Oxx.

Smullen has been signed up to be understudy to champion Johnny Murtagh from next season onwards.

Offaly born Smullen, who heads to Dubai today along with Willie Supple to ride for Frenchborn trainer Erwan Charpy, hit the front on the filly inside the furlong pole before staying on under pressure to beat I'm Supposin by a length.

Jim O'Neill, representing Oxx (who is attending the Newmarket Horses In Training Sales), said: "She deserved to win a listed race and she may go to Evry in France in three weeks' time for a Group Three event."