Monday 24 October 2016

Aidan O'Brien's filly is found out at the Curragh

Aidan O'Brien
Aidan O'Brien

There was a big upset in the Canford Cliffs EBF Athasi Stakes at the Curragh as Investec Oaks fancy Found was beaten by 25-1 outsider Iveagh Gardens.

Already a Group One winner, Found was favourite for the 1000 Guineas all winter but was ruled out of the Classic at the 11th hour after a minor setback meant she had missed some crucial work.

Rather than head to Newmarket, Aidan O'Brien was happy to let her run 24 hours later, despite the ground being heavy, and she appeared to be doing just enough entering the final furlong.

However, Niall McCullagh was getting a strong run out of Charles O'Brien's filly, and she flew past Found close home to win going away by two lengths.


British bookmakers Coral reacted by pushing Found out to 5-1 from 4-1 for the Oaks behind 7-2 favourite Legatissimo.

"She's a filly I've always liked, I rode her a few times last season and always thought there was a good day in her," said McCullagh.

"I got a good tow into it, but when she got out she was electric. The plan was to ride her for third and anything else was a bonus and we certainly got that."

Tombelaine wore down the giant Endless Drama to give Dermot Weld successive wins in the Power European Breeders' Fund Tetrarch Stakes. Following on from Alkasser 12 months ago, Tombelaine did not have to show improved form given the calibre of horses he ran against last season.

He beat French Guineas hope Highland Reel on his first outing and then ran into the likes of Gleneagles, John F Kennedy and Ol' Man River.

Endless Drama and Andrea Atzeni looked to have matters under control entering the final furlong, but Pat Smullen brought Tombelaine with a powerful run down the middle of the track to win by half a length.

"It was an excellent performance, but he's been mixing it with the very best," said Weld.

"He was beaten by Gleneagles and Ol' Man River so it was good he could do that on ground which was unquestionably too soft.

"He's a tough colt and will obviously appreciate better ground. This is a logical prep race for the Irish Guineas and he'll probably take his chance now in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

"He was working well and my only concern, being an American-bred and very effective on good ground, was how would he handle that much cut in the ground. If he doesn't run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas then he could go for the Jersey Stakes."

Weld and Smullen doubled up when Fascinating Rock landed short odds in the So You Think EBF Mooresbridge Stakes. A smart three-year-old last year, he won both the Ballysax and Derrinstown Derby Trials. He came up just short at Epsom and in the Irish equivalent, but was much more at home on softer ground.

Having already won this season, Smullen did not have to get too serious and though Parish Hall kept him honest inside the final furlong, favourite-backers were never really worried.

Weld's Zawraq could skip the Derrinstown Derby Trial this weekend if the ground is too soft. The colt is prominent in the betting for the Investec Derby after a brilliant display on his seasonal reappearance.

Regular rider Smullen is also suspended this weekend and Weld is giving serious consideration to running him in the Irish Guineas if he does not run on Sunday.

"We will make a decision during the week about Zawraq. We will see what the weather does and what the ground is like," Weld said. "He could run in the Irish Guineas (if he does not run this weekend). There's been no decision yet. The main thing is the weather, we'll see how soft the ground is."

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