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Monday 20 August 2018

O'Donoghue gets his day

Derby win marks career highlight for Cork rider as legend of Aidan O'Brien grows with Classic 1-2-3

TO BE completely honest, it's difficult to know who, what or where to start with in relation to yesterday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh, as there were so many notable achievements.

Aidan O'Brien, Colm O'Donoghue, Treasure Beach, Galileo, the form book, Ballydoyle, Coolmore, Carlton House, Epsom, Pour Moi -- all major points of discussion after what was another incredible day at the Curragh.

So often it has rained on Derby day and so often when the sun was shining it had rained, metaphorically, on O'Donoghue.

Three times previously -- including the past two years -- O'Donoghue had been on the runner-up in the €725,000 showpiece at the Curragh.

Yesterday, and undoubtedly deservedly so, that changed and O'Donoghue got his due reward for years of hard graft and patience as he steered Treasure Beach to victory in the Ireland's blue-riband Flat race.

When Aidan O'Brien got to the Derby winners' enclosure and greeted a still mounted O'Donoghue he offered a stern, proud and genuine handshake of delight and approval.

As the jockey himself admitted, he has worked in Ballydoyle over half his life and this will probably be the picture that will take pride of place in his household.

O'Donoghue was dreadfully unlucky not to get what he deserved in the Epsom equivalent when Treasure Beach was touched off in the skinny shadow of the post and although third on that occasion, Carlton House was made favourite to reverse that form yesterday and give the queen a first Classic.

The formbook stood firm and Carlton House simply wasn't good enough, giving yet another 1-2-3 in the race for Aidan O'Brien.

The legendary trainer was not only winning his sixth Irish Derby in a row, but it was his ninth in total, and, amazingly, the fourth time that the current master of Ballydoyle has saddled the first three past the post.

That has all happened since he won the race for the first time in 1997.

The man is only 42. By the time he decides he has done enough somebody could be here writing about his 20th Irish Derby win ... or more.

That's no over-exaggeration, that's just amazing.

O'Brien was quick to thank everyone in his team, and comment about how privileged he is to be part of the whole thing, but there is definitely more to it than that.

"Colm was excellent on the horse, he was under a lot of pressure because he was on the form horse coming in here," O'Brien began.

"But he gave him a great ride and he really deserves that as he was second in a good few of them (Classics).



Progressed

"The plan was to make it a good gallop and I think that suited every horse. Treasure Beach has progressed with all his runs and he has a few options now."

The options include the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp, the King George at Ascot or a break with targets in the autumn being sought out and a possible career as a four-year-old on the agenda with Ballydoyle now adopting that policy to race some horses beyond their Classic season.

The 30-year-old winning jockey admitted to being "relieved" at getting such a monkey off his back, winning his first Irish Classic, and admitted that despite the devastation of being collared at Epsom, that he had learnt from it.

"I'm relieved as much as anything as I had been placed in the race a number of times," said the Cork native.

"I'm very privileged to work with the people I am and they've given me the chances and it means an awful lot to me.

"A horse comes along once in a while and now this is my year.

"I was confident coming here as I learned more about the horse after Epsom. Every racing day is a learning day."

Galileo also deserves a mention as not only was he the sire of the first two home, but it was his sixth Classic winner to sire this season and his third Irish Derby winner in total.

He truly is the daddy of them all.

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