Henry Longfellow brushed aside his rivals to give trainer Aidan O’Brien his 4,000th career winner with an imperious display in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh.
The master of Ballydoyle was on the brink of the milestone following a fantastic four-timer on the opening day of the Irish Champions Festival, but was made to wait until the two-year-old showpiece on day two of the showpiece weekend to reach the landmark figure.
The race had looked like being a surprise showdown between Henry Longfellow and stablemate City Of Troy – who not only dominated the ante-post lists for this Group One event, but also next year’s Classics.
However, Henry Longfellow is also a talented operator in his own right and after the late defection of City Of Troy on account of the ground, Ryan Moore wasted little time switching mounts as the son of Dubawi demonstrated his class with a bloodless demolition.
Sent off the 10/11 favourite, the Futurity Stakes scorer travelled with supreme ease as outsider Cuban Thunder led along his Adrian Murray-trained stablemate Bucanero Fuerte on the front end.
As the field approached the two-furlong pole, Kevin Stott was already asking the Phoenix Stakes winner for maximum effort, whereas Moore and his high-class partner were only just warming up and with Bucanero Fuerte soon left in his wake, Henry Longfellow was allowed to give a glimpse of what is lurking under the bonnet as he sailed home to a five-length success over a running-on Islandsinthestream.
Paddy Power and Betfair make the winner 7/2 from 5s for next year’s 2000 Guineas, with both also going 6/1 from 8s for the Derby.
Burke’s Fallen Angel makes successful Moyglare raid
Fallen Angel stayed on strongly to land the Moyglare Stud Stakes in impressive fashion at the Curragh, as Aidan O’Brien’s Ylang Ylang folded tamely to give up her unbeaten record.
Ylang Ylang went into the race as the ante-post favourite for next year’s Classics following two impressive displays and was sent off the 6/5 market leader in a bid to give the master of Ballydoyle his 10th success in the Group One event.
Ryan Moore sent the daughter of Frankel to the front where she was joined by Danny Tudhope aboard the eventual 9/2 winner and the duo matched strides until Ylang Ylang began to falter approaching the final furlong.
Despite Ylang Ylang falling quickly to the back of the field, the race was far from over and Willie McCreary’s Vespertilio was soon alongside Fallen Angel launching her challenge, with the duo embroiled in a real tussle to the line.
It was Karl Burke’s filly who pulled out extra when it mattered most to provide both the North Yorkshire trainer and owners Clipper Logistics with their second winner of the Irish Champions Festival following Flight Plan’s Dullingham Park Stakes success at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Moss Tucker lands the Flying Five
Moss Tucker stayed on strongly to land a decisive blow for the home team in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes.
The Curragh Group One was stacked with British talent, but it was Ken Condon’s unheralded five-year-old who scooped the €236,000 first prize at odds of 16/1.
Although now an eight-time winner, it was just the second time Moss Tucker was appearing at the highest level and while all eyes were on the near-side group where Art Power was being closely attended by Bradsell and Highfield Princess, Moss Tucker was getting the ideal tow through the race by Charlie Hills’ Equality.
The two groups merged with two furlongs to run, but whereas distress signals were being displayed by the fancied runners, the Billy Lee-ridden Moss Tucker still had plenty in the tank and he proved his stamina to deny Clive Cox’s Get Ahead in the closing stages with the front-running Equality going down bravely in third.
McMonagle stars on Lumiere Rock
Joseph O’Brien notched back-to-back victories in the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes, with Lumiere Rock the beneficiary of a smart ride from Dylan Browne McMonagle.
O’Brien, who won this race aboard his father’s Up during his riding career, saddled Above The Curve to land the Group Two contest 12 months ago and was enhancing his fine record in the Curragh contest with the Royal Ascot runner-up, who thrived in first-time cheekpieces.
Owned by Michael O’Flynn, the three-year-old was always well placed tracking the pace set by the front-running Red Riding Hood and when McMonagle asked his mount to set sail for home two furlongs out he had a willing partner.
The duo were clear entering the final furlong and although those from the rear, including 16/5 favourite Jackie Oh and British raider Araminta, tried to close the gap, they had no answer as Lumiere Rock galloped home to a three-length success over Jackie Oh in second.
The 6/1 scorer holds an entry for the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on October 21 and she was shortened to 12/1 from 25s for that Group One assignment by Coral.