Pat Smullen and Covert Love strike gold in Prix de l’Opera

Smullen on board Free Eagle was beaten in the Arc by Frankie Dettori riding Golden Horn

Pat Smullen was out of luck in the Arc on board Free Eagle but Ireland's champion jockey struck Group One gold in the preceding Prix de l'Opera with his Irish Oaks heroine Covert Love.

Smullen and Covert Love got the better of a sustained duel with Frankie Dettori on Jazzi Top and Covert Love's trainer, Hugo Palmer, was extravagant in his praise for the Irishman.

“Pat gave her a wonderful ride, I said to him before the race ‘there isn’t a jockey in the world with a better clock in their head than you, so do your thing’. I think she was headed, but she came back and that takes real guts,” he said.

Earlier, Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore combined to land the Prix Marcel Boussac with Ballydoyle who is now a 7-1 shot for next year's 1,000 Guineas after beating Jim Bolger's Turret Rocks in an Irish 1-2.


However, the O'Brien camp were out of luck in the Prix Jean Luc Lagadere with both Johannes Vermeer and Shogun failing to make the frame behind Godolphin's Ultra who is now 20-1 for the 2016 Derby.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column