El Salvador clinches father and son Cesarewitch success for O’Briens
Consultation process for €55m redevelopment of the Curragh begins this week
Joseph O’Brien celebrates after winning the Irish Derby on Australia. Aidan O’Brien’s dual Derby winning colt was retired at the weekend. Photograph: PA Wire.
A consultative process ahead of firm architectural plans being drawn up, and then submitted for planning approval, will begin this week. Building work on a new stands complex is currently due to begin towards the end of the Curragh’s 2015 programme with a proposed completion date in 2017.
It has been described as a “tight schedule” and one that the Curragh manager Paul Hensey admits will require no major snags in order to be met on-time. As it is, the requirement to “compress” some fixtures, including possibly running a 2016 programme from the Guineas festival in May through to ‘Champions Weekend,’ hasn’t been ruled out.
“We will know a lot more once we have firm plans from the architects, and once planning, finance and company structures are in place,” said Hensey who, not surprisingly, pointed to last month’s inaugural ‘Champions Weekend’ date as a particular Curragh highlight from 2014.
Leap of faith
Kingman won May’s classic in desperate weather conditions and many HQ summer classics have been won in far more grim weather than the warm sunshine that bathed the Curragh yesterday and which saw Aidan and Joseph O’Brien dreaming of 2015 classic glory.
The track’s leading trainer and jockey for 2014 teamed up for Together Forever’s Listed success which provoked 33-1 quotes for both next year’s 1,000 Guineas and Oaks.
Earlier the Ballydoyle team saddled a one-two in the colts juvenile maiden with the gambled on Royal Navy Ship earning similar 33-1 prices for next year’s 2,000 Guineas after beating his stable companion Jacobean.
“They’re very similar but Joseph (on Jacobean) was drawn badly and the winner was well drawn,” the champion trainer said.
However the Ballydoyle highlight was El Salvador’s Cesarewitch victory under the trainer’s 16-year-old son, Donnacha, a Leaving Cert student who got his licence in July and was riding just his fourth winner.
“I just try to follow instructions,” the apprentice said modestly, while his father added: “It’s great for him. He’s a tall fellah and after a messy start, I thought he was very calm. It’s a hard race to win.”
Colin Keane reported the 3-1 favourite Clondaw Warrior ran too keenly and couldn’t quicken.
Viztoria led home an Eddie Lynam one-two in the Waterford Testimonial Stakes while the appropriately named Finale Stakes was won by the cross-channel raider Second Step.
But 2014 wound up at the Curragh with Aidan O’Brien declaring: “This is the best racecourse in the world. You can go anywhere in the world but you won’t get better than this.”