THE Oasis Dream colt Power, which was bred at Norelands Stud near Stoneyford by Harry McCalmont, returned to winning ways when getting up close home to land the Group One National Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh on Saturday.
With the Marble Hill Stakes and the Coventry at Royal Ascot already under his belt his only defeat came in the six furlong Phoenix Stakes where he was collared close home by La Collina after making much of the running. Different tactics were adopted here as Shamie Heffernan settled the Aidan O’Brien runner Power just behind the leaders as stable companion David Livingston cut out the pace.
It was well inside the final furlong when Heffernan pounced. To his credit the horse responded to hit the wire half a length to the good over the favourite Dragon Pulse with David Livingston a further length and a quarter back in third place. A horse that takes his racing well Power failed to reach his reserve when offered for sale as a yearling but was subsequently sold in a private deal. On this evidence a mile is well within his compass. He will go into Winter quarters as a well-fancied candidate for next season’s 2000 Guineas.
The feature race of the afternoon was the Group One Irish St Leger over a mile and six furlongs. Not for the first time it went for export as the judge failed to separate the cross channel pair of Duncan and Jukebox Jury with another raider Red Cadeaux filling third place.
Fame And Glory from the all-conquering Ballydoyle yard of Aidan O’Brien went to post an odds-on favourite in spite of being turned over at the venue on his most recent outing. He was close enough coming down the hill towards the straight, but quickly went into reverse and finished well adrift of the principals in fourth position.
At the business end it was Jukebox Jury, who was ahead right from the drop of the flag, and Duncan that had a battle royale from the two furlong marker. Justice was done as they shared the spoils.
The display of Fame And Glory was difficult to fathom. As a five-time Group One winner, a run of success which included an Irish Derby as well as a Tattersalls Gold Cup and an Ascot Gold Cup he would, in normal circumstances, be expected to deal comprehensively with this field but he was the first horse in trouble. Rider Jamie Spencer told me that his mount was never travelling. This was certainly not the horse’s running so hopefully connections will be able to get to the root of the problem.
There was huge interest in the racecourse debut of Born To Sea in the Listed race for two-year-olds. The son of Invincible Spirit, Born To Sea is a half-brother to Sea The Stars as well as Galileo and he did not disappoint, scoring nicely in the hands of Johnnie Murtagh.
Settled just behind the leaders in what looked a decent contest, Born To Sea availed of a split between horses a furlong out. He quickened up impressively to take the money by a length and a half from Pearl In The Sand with the Jim Bolger representative An Ghalanta three parts of a length further back in third position.
Comparisons to Sea The Stars were inevitable but trainer John Oxx was slow to be drawn. He told me that this is completely different type of horse. Shorter coupled than his illustrious siblings he is seen as a miler. He certainly has an electric turn of foot and his next outing at Group Three level at Leopardstown will be eagerly awaited.
Oxx went on to complete a double courtesy of Minsk which benefited from a superb Katie Walsh ride to take the amateur riders derby. Coming with a sustained challenge in the straight the Dalakhani gelding led a furlong out and ran all the way to the line where he had three and a half length to spare over Baron De’l.
Ruby Walsh returned from a three-month absence at Listowel on Sunday where he had just one mount but it was Katie Walsh who upstaged him by landing the bumper on Ravensbury after a hectic battle with Great Oak.
Great Oak, which is trained near Johnstown by John Nicholson, came with a wet sail in the straight but lost out in a head bobbing finish and would have got up in another stride.
Not for the first time the favourite Robin Angevin from the Willie Mullins establishment disappointed. He was near enough turning to face the judge but found little when the pace was upped. A switch to hurdling must now be on the cards.