Sunday 17 December 2017

Eagle soars for O'Brien

Aidan's smart buy enjoys winning debut in O'Maille

AIDAN O'BRIEN'S newcomer Great White Eagle made a hugely impressive racecourse debut in the Michael T. O'Maille Race at Naas.

The Coolmore team went to 760,000 guineas to snap up the American-bred juvenile at Tattersalls in April and he was a 2/1 shot as he kicked off his career over six furlongs in the hands of the trainer's son, Joseph.

Ridden with plenty of confidence, Great White Eagle showed smart acceleration once let down, coming through to beat 11/10 favourite Gold Peregrine by two and three-quarter lengths.

O'Brien senior said: "I'm delighted with that for his first run, he was just ready to start off and I was delighted with the way he travelled.

"We'll look at something like the Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh. Joseph said he has plenty of speed and he knew after a furlong and a half that he was going best."

Bookmakers were suitably impressed, with Stan James cutting the youngster to 16/1 from 33/1 for next year's 2000 Guineas.

Stan James spokesman Joseph Burke said: "On breeding, Great White Eagle promises so much more at home on better ground, so he is obviously a horse to look forward to.

"It is interesting that he is now in the Coolmore fold, given he was jointly bred by Darley who sold him as a yearling for 120,000 at Keeneland.

"Coolmore subsequently purchased him for 760,000 guineas at Tattersalls, where he set a new European record as a breeze-up horse and that may not be the last record he sets, judging by today's performance."

Paddy Power also go 16/1 for the 2000 Guineas.

The father-son combination were widely expected to complete a double in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden, but 4/11 favourite Juniper Tree could only finish fourth as Altruistic claimed a ready victory.



Juniper Tree was unable to build on a promising debut, never threatening to land a significant blow in this seven-furlong contest.

Altruistic (14/1), trained and ridden by Johnny Murtagh, was never far off the speed and picked up well in the closing stages to come home with two lengths in hand over Dermot Weld's Sparkle Factor.

Murtagh said of the 130,000 guineas purchase: "He is a bit nervous and he has given plenty of lads plenty of falls at home. He has a big engine and he is a typical Galileo. Once I got away well and got rolling I knew I had a chance.

"He was very professional and when he got a smack he went away well."

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