Saturday 16 December 2017

O'Brien's dash to test Gleneagles

Heavier jockey to mix jumps with flat for new season

Gleneagles (Joseph O'Brien) gallop after racing Curragh Photo: Patrick McCann 29.03.2015
Gleneagles (Joseph O'Brien) gallop after racing Curragh Photo: Patrick McCann 29.03.2015

Joseph O'Brien dashed from Limerick, where he finished fifth on his first ride over hurdles, to the Curragh to ride English 2,000 Guineas favourite Gleneagles in Aidan O'Brien's post racing gallopers but like all the big names on show after racing, he did very little due to the heavy underfoot conditions.

O'Brien brought 66 horses to the Curragh to gallop after the opening day of the Irish flat season and worked them in three groups with each groups doing thier work over a mile with Ryan Moore also taking part having earlier rode a winner for the trainer aboard The Warrior in the six-furlong Big Bad Bob Maiden.


Gleneagles was the subject of an ante-post move for the opening Classic of the season at Newmarket the week before last and he came up in the middle of the first group.

"The ground was very heavy and all the horses came up doing a half speed," O'Brien explained.

"We intended on coming here to do more but with the ground as heavy as it was, we didn't want to bottom them out and like Australia here last year the main Guineas horses just came up in the middle of them on the bridle."

Looking to the Guineas and O'Brien said: "Gleneagles wouldn't be mad about that ground but we knew that and he'll go for the Guineas now with Highland Reel who Ryan (Moore) was very happy with and Sir Iaasc Newton could possible go there as well."

John F Kennedy was another of the big Classic hopes and O'Brien said: "The plan for him was to go to Leopardstown for the Ballysax and the Derrinstown and I don't see that changing.

After finishing fifth on Egyptian Warrior in Limerick, Joseph O'Brien plans to be back in action on the flat at Dundalk on Wednesday evening.

O'Brien, who describes himself as a little heavy at the moment, is expected to mix riding over jumps with riding on the flat at weights suitable.

His father commented yesterday: "Everyone knows that Joseph found 9st very difficult last season and he is heavier this year so we'll play it by ear and he'll be put under no pressure in any way.

"Ryan is there we have a good working relationship with him and that will continue going forward."

Meanwhile, the Stack team hatched a well constructed plan to claim the feature on the opening day with OnenightIdreamed who defied an unfavourable draw to run out a good winner of the €100,000 contest in the hands of Wayne Lordan.

Fozzy Stack, assistant to his father Tommy, explained: "Last October we decided not to go to Leopardstown for a race and take a chance to come here today and it worked out.

"He ran well in a handicap on Guineas weekend last year and that stood to him today. This was the long term plan but he does need a dig in the ground."

Curragh-based trainer Bill Farrell rectified not having a winner at the track last year by enjoying his biggest ever success to date when 100/1 shot Ramone won the Group Three Lodge Park Stud Park Express Stakes.

Ridden by Shane Foley, the outsider of the field was a comprehensive winner over Dermot Weld's Afternoon Sunlight to the delight of the winning trainer.

"I always held her in high regard but that is the first time she has got her ground. She won at Leopardstown on quick ground one day with Johnny Murtagh but that's the ground she wants.

"With a rating of 92 we decided not to give loads of weight away in the Lincoln and instead try catch one or two of these on the hop on this ground and it's great."


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