AIDAN O’Brien’s remarkable run in the early season Classics continued when he landed the Irish 2000 Guineas with the aptly named Power at the Curragh on Saturday.
O’Brien’s win was all the more impressive as it equalled the record of 27 Irish Classics won with his predecessor at Ballydoyle, Vincent O’Brien. The feat looks all the more incredible when time is taken into account - it took the legendary Vincent 35 years to complete his tally, while Aidan has done it in 15 years.
With the English Guineas already tucked away the trainer saddled no less than four of the 10 runners. His son Joseph, who presumably had the first choice of mounts, chose last year’s National Stakes winner. Power was a market drifter as the big hitters plunged for the Richard Hannon runner Trumpet Major, who dropped away after being prominent early on and was found to be coughing post race.
In contrast Power, which was settled in mid division, came with a wet sail in the straight to take over inside the last furlong. Power won going away by a length from the cross-channel raider Foxtrot Romeo, with another O’Brien runner Reply a length and three parts further back in third place.
For a horse that was beaten a long way at Newmarket it was a big turnaround and the stewards enquired as to the improvement in the form. They noted the explanation that the Oasis Dream colt failed to handle the soft conditions there and had come on a lot for the outing.
Plenty of options
With the English 2000 Guineas winner Camelot likely to be campaigned at longer distances Power would seem to have plenty of options over a mile so the future will be interesting indeed.
Jim Bolger missed the chance to win the race when his likely favourite Parish Hall was ruled out with a leg infection, but got some compensation by recording a double with Glor Na Mara and Aquilonius.
For a horse that was placed a couple of times at Group One level Glor Na Mara has been a huge disappointment to connections. He had a maiden success at Dundalk to his credit, but battled well to land the 80-104 handicap over a mile.
Given a stylish ride by Kevin Manning, the four-year-old raced off the pace early on but made good headway in the straight. Hitting the front well inside the last furlong, he held off the challenge of Dandy Boy by a neck.
Bolger is still at a loss to explain how his charge lost his form but still has faith in him to recapture some of the glory days. The Ballycorus Stakes is a likely option now.
The Soviet Star colt Aquilonius completed the double for the trainer and rider with a narrow victory in the mile 66-88 handicap. One of the outsiders at 16/1, the three-year-old was never too far off the pace before leading inside the two marker. With Manning pulling out all the stops, Aquilonius hit the wire a neck to the good from Captain Joy.
A trip to the Newmarket sales is next on the list for the winner. He is the type of horse that might make into a useful juvenile hurdler come the Autumn.
One that certainly went into many a notebook after her victory in the Group Three fillies and mares race was Emulous, who will now be entered up at the highest level. Already a Group One winner as a two-year-old, the daughter of Dansili went to post at a shade of odds-on favourite.
After tracking the leaders until well in the straight she found top gear inside the final furlong and was not overly knocked about to beat the outsider One Spirit by a length and three-parts. Winning handler Dermot Weld revealed that this is a proper Group One filly and is viewing the Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot as a target.
Royal Empress from the David Wachman stable was all the rage for the opening juvenile maiden but she failed to live up to her billing and had to be content with third place behind the 25/1 shot Nandiga and Delight.
American-bred, the winner was making her racecourse debut. She was switched wide to deliver her challenge a couple of furlongs out and ran all the way to the line to beat the Aidan O’Brien representative Delight by a neck.
A half-sister to six winners, Nandiga is now in line for a tilt at the Queen Mary at the Royal meeting.
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