Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien landed his fourth Epsom Derby victory on Saturday when Ruler Of The World stormed home a length and a half ahead of the fast finishing Libertarian with the hot favourite Dawn Approach bringing up the rear.
One of five runners from the yard the son of Galileo had his admirers in the betting market, he was given plenty of time to find his feet by jockey Ryan Moore in a slow run race. On straightening up after Tattenham Corner he had plenty to do as Joseph O’Brien set sail for home aboard Battle Of Marengo but then his stamina came into play as he cut down the leaders and in spite of edging left hit the front a furlong out and ran all the way to the line.
This was a likeable performance by an obviously high class colt which was having only his third outing in public. A half brother to the top middle distance horse Duke Of Marmalade he was unraced as a juvenile and although he opened his account at the Curragh in early April few expected him to hit the headlines so soon. It was when he landed the Chester Vase in impressive fashion over a mile and four that we began to sit up and take notice of him. He wore Cheekpieces that day to help him concentrate and they were again applied on Saturday. Future plans for the winner were not known in the immediate aftermath of the race but the Irish Derby at the Curragh at the end of the month looks the obvious target as the Kildare venue will bring his limitless stamina into play.
Galileo Rock representing Longfield handler David Wachman ran a corker to capture third place just ahead of Battle Of Marengo. He is certainly on the upgrade and fully justified Wachman’s decision top allow him take his place.
It must be said the Dawn Approach was a most disappointing favourite, an impressive winner of the 2000 Guineas looked to have everything going for him in spite of the doubts about his stamina. In a slowly run race he never settled which came as a huge surprise as trainer Jim Bolger never had any concerns about his temperament. Rider Kevin Manning was forced to give him his was and lead shortly after the halfway point. For a horse that was tackling the trip form the first time this was little short of a disaster and he went quickly into reverse when the race began in earnest two furlongs or so out. In his post race remarks Bolger revealed that his charge will now revert to much shorter distances in a bid to redeem his reputation. It’s interesting to note that Bolger is a director of Equinome the equine genetic testing company that categorises the potential of young horses and it saw Dawn Approach as a fast speedy type that should be at his beat at distances of about seven furlongs. Time alone will be the judge, however, one poor run does not make him a bad horse and if he gets a true run race over a mile or so he is going to be very difficult to beat.
St Nicholas Abbey wrote his name in the history books by landing the Group1 Coronation Stakes for the third time on the bounce for the Ballydoyle stable to take his winnings far in excess of four and a half million euro. Given a patient ride by the trainers son Joseph St Nicholas Abbey arrived with his challenge soon after turning Tattenham Corner and once Joseph pressed the go button at the two marker the horse quickened up impressively to run out a comfortable three and a half length winner over the French challenger Dunaded. O’Brien has always held the son of Montjeu in the highest regard and blames himself for messing up his 3.y.o career, that now seems light years ago and the six year old has duly fulfilled the trainers opinion of him.
On the home front Edward O’Grady saddled a well backed winner in the shape of Banana Flambe of the opening two mile maiden hurdle at Tramore on Friday evening. Having shown some promise on his hurdling bow at Limerick the Darsi gelding dropped from 5&6/1 into 7/2, he was never too far out of his ground under Barry Geraghty before leading at the top of the hill and although joined briefly before the last had enough in reserve to take the money by a length from Tangolan. His main Market rival and favourite Star For Life departed the scene at the halfway point while travelling well but it was too far out to know whether or not he was going to be involved at the business end of things.
Charlie Swan was also on the mark courtesy of Sands Cove which opened his account over fences with a workmanlike success in the two mile beginners chase. When the Flemensfirth gelding landed his bumper at the first time of asking at Roscommon back in 2011 Swan burdened him with the tag of the best he had ever trained, this proved to be well wide of the mark as he struggled over hurdles winning just once from seven attempts. The better ground was obviously bin his favour and he was the subject of good support. Rider David Casey had trouble in getting him to settle early on but managed to anchor him behind the leaders, he responded to the riders urgings from the second last to lead before the final fence and stay on well to land the spoils by two and a half lengths from then Jimmy Finn runner Coldstonesober.