iskander

Aidan O'Brien claims fifth Irish Derby


Cape Blanco fulfilled his potential to lead home a one-two-three for trainer Aidan O’Brien in the Irish Derby.

It came as no surprise as O’Brien had already achieved the exact feat three years earlier when Soldier Of Fortune came out top of a Ballydoyle trio at the Curragh.

This latest success took the trainer to five Irish Derbys in a row in the race and eight in all.
Cape Blanco defeated the English Derby winner Workforce in the Dante Stakes but was a mystifying disappointment when turned out again in the French Derby.

Johnny Murtagh kept faith and picked the chestnut (7-2) over four other O’Brien runners in the race, headed by Midas Touch (9-2) and beaten Derby favourite Jan Vermeer (4-1), and those were the two to chase him home.
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Murtagh was sporting a plaster on his nose but it could have been so much worse for the Irishman as he had escaped a potentially catastrophic injury when his mount in the first race crashed into the rails and catapulted him into the turf.

O’Brien tactics dictated the entire mile and a half (2400m) with first Bright Horizon charging into a clear lead before Midas Touch tried to steal away turning for home.

All this time Murtagh was confident, swooping in front with two furlongs (400m) to run and grinding out his half-length victory with trademark determination.

“I’m just delighted to be part of it,” O’Brien said.

“The last run in France was the only blot on his copybook and we couldn’t understand it.

“Maybe it was the travel, it was a hot day, but something upset him. He wasn’t the horse in the paddock he was at York, or today.

“My son Joseph rides him out at home and we knew he was in good form. He showed the class and courage we know he has and he’s back to where he was.

“It was a tough decision for Johnny to ride this horse. The other two ran stormers but he gave him a brilliant ride.”

A fascinating rematch with Workforce at Ascot on July 24 now looks on the cards.

“We thought before this race that if everything went well we would look at the King George,” O’Brien said.

“It’s not definite, but certainly possible.”

Adding to Fame And Glory’s victory last year and Alamshar and Sinndar from his great partnership with John Oxx, this was Murtagh’s fourth triumph.