O'Brien's sure of touch class
Ballydoyle boss says Midas will come on from Trial win
Midas Touch staked his claim for Classic honours when giving Aidan O'Brien his eighth success in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.
The son of 2001 winner Galileo came from last to first under a confident ride from Johnny Murtagh to beat fellow 2/1 joint-favourite Address Unknown by two lengths.
The winner's stablemate At First Sight took the four-strong field along at a good pace from Reiteration, with Address Unknown going on over a furlong out.
But Murtagh had the move covered and Midas Touch quickened into the lead to score in cosy fashion.
Midas Touch was cut to 14/1 from 25/1 for the Investec Derby at Epsom month by William Hill, while Victor Chandler go 12s and Coral 16s.
"He finished the race very well and I believe it was a good time so I am delighted with it," said O'Brien.
"It was his first run and he was just ready to come and start, he'll come on a good bit.
"It was a very true-run race, At First Sight was very green in front the last day but today he went a good, even pace and you would have to be very happy with the result.
"The horses have been very behind but we are getting there. Midas Touch was going to go for the Dante, but when Mikhail Glinka got injured we decided to come here."
Dermot Weld was far from downcast after the effort of second-placed Address Unknown, offering a telling insight into the merit of the Group Two event, which has a rich recent history.
"It was a very good race and was won in a second faster time than Fame And Glory last year," Weld said.
"Our horse is a big colt who will appreciate some ease in the ground and he has been beaten by a very good horse.
"Pat Smullen said it is as good a Derby trial as will be run. He said he came to win the race and was just beaten by a very good horse."
Weld and Smullen still enjoyed a good day thanks to a 71/1 treble with Precious Gem (8/1), Bethrah (5/1) and Famous Name (1/3). Despite his skinny odds, the last named was all out to hold King Jock by a short head in the www.totegoracingclub.com Amethyst Stakes.
Smullen decided to take the sting out of his main market rival Duff by going on a long way from home but King Jock gave Famous Name's supporters a big scare with a late challenge that only just failed.
"Twice now we've got away with running this horse on fast ground," Smullen said.
"Today he was really feeling it in the last two furlongs, but he's got such a heart he was never going to get beaten. He's a much better horse with ease in the ground.
"Our horse wasn't as near good as he can be. With ease in the ground you'll see a much better horse."
Bethrah lifted the Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial to book her ticket in the Classic itself at the Curragh next month.
Atasari looked like landing the Listed contest when she hit the front a furlong out, but Smullen brought Sheikh Hamdan's filly to challenge late on the wide outside to win by a neck.
"Pat gave her a lovely ride and she will now go for the Irish Guineas," said Weld. "She has got plenty of ability, she won her maiden very easily and has followed up nicely there.
"She can get a little excited, but a lot of work has gone into her during the winter and she has responded very well.
"She is an improving filly and I think she will represent us very well in the Irish Guineas."
Precious Gem produced a fine turn of foot to take the Property Properly Handicap by a length and three- quarters from Maximo.
"She has been stakes-placed in the past and the plan was to run here and then see if she can win a stakes race later in the year," said Weld.
"She ran a really good race last time at the Curragh and is just getting better."
Wave Of Applause continued the good run of the Tommy Stack yard when knuckling down to oblige as the even-money favourite in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Auction Maiden.
Wayne Lordan sat just behind pace aboard the market leader and although she took time to hit top gear, she reeled in Catalpa Sail to win by a head.
Stack's son and assistant, Fozzy, said: "She has been going nicely at home and has been working well.
"Ideally she wants further but she is a nice filly.
"There is a Group Three race at Naas next month that we may look at for her."
Troas improved on his debut fifth-placed effort to take the Join The Tote Go Racing Club Maiden for trainer John Oxx and jockey Fran Berry.
The son of Arc winner Dalakhani needed every inch of the mile and a quarter trip to get the better of Jim Bolger's Carraiglawn, with the 9/2 chance grinding it out by a head.
Oxx said: "He ran well here last time but that was a slowly run race and the fast pace won it for him today.
"The Classic trial at Gowran next week was the obvious place to go, but that is going to come too soon, so I don't know what we will do."