Saturday 22 October 2016

Seamie Heffernan celebrates another big double win

Trainer Aidan O'Brien congratulates Seamie Heffernan
Trainer Aidan O'Brien congratulates Seamie Heffernan

Aidan O'Brien was full of praise for winning rider Seamie Heffernan after another big race double for the jockey yesterday and why wouldn't he be.

Heffernan has long been an integral part of the Ballydoyle team and on Diamondsandrubies in the Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes the Kildare native enjoyed what was a 20th Group One success of his career. Nineteen of them coming for Aidan O'Brien.

When the ammunition underneath him is up to what is required on the big occasion, Heffernan doesn't disappoint and his longevity as a main stalwart of the Ballydoyle team is testament to that.

"I'm delighted for Seamus," O'Brien said. "He has been with us from the very start and he has always been a world class rider.

"He has been riding in those big races for us for how many years now and he is a massive part of the team and nobody deserves it more."

Heffernan isn't one for over elaborate celebrations but a quiet reflective moment after the final race on yesterday's card and it was easy to tell that the cool manner on the exterior masks a man who appreciates the job he plays in one of the most powerful operations, not just in horse racing but in world sport.

"It means a lot to me to have good rides in these big Group One races," Heffernan told The Herald.

"I get very well looked after for the role I play at Ballydoyle and I'm very grateful for that. I have a lot to thank John Magnier, Paul Shanahan and all the owners who pay the bills down there and of course, Aidan and Ann-Marie O'Brien."

Heffernan was on board Diamondsandrubies at Epsom when she finished fourth in the Oaks there earlier in the month and getting badly hampered just over a furlong home certainly hindered her chances of winning any closer to stable companion Qualify and yesterday she held off the David Wachman-trained Legatissimo who had to settle for second place again, just like she did on that occasion at Epsom. "She was very unlucky at Epsom and the plan was always to come here with her and she's a filly we liked a lot last year," O'Brien declared.

"In an ideal world she would like to get a lead but Seamus gave her a great ride when nothing else was going on and she'll come back her for the Irish Oaks and hopefully we can be a little more patient with here there over a mile and a half."

Bondi Beach led home an O'Brien trained 1-2 in the At The Races Curragh Cup in which Forgotten Rules failed to ignite with the ground and close proximity of his Royal Ascot run probably acting against him.

Both Bondi Beach and runner-up Order Of St George look set for the St Leger at Doncaster now according to the winning trainer.

Heffernan's only Group One that wasn't for O'Brien was for Wachman who, despite seeing 1,000 Guineas winner Legatissimo touched off in two Group One's by a short-head on both occasions, continued his fine season with Most Beautiful looking destined for better things after her win in the Group Three Grangecon Stakes.

The winner is owned by Ronan O'Gara who was absent due to a family holiday but Wachman quipped; "I bet he'll be keen to see her the next day!

He added: "I think she will have a nice future."

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