War­rior lands Guineas for Don­nacha

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING -

DON­NACHA O’BRIEN be­came the lat­est in the O’Brien dy­nasty to claim Clas­sic glory as Saxon War­rior ran out a stylish win­ner of the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his el­der brother Joseph, now a lead­ing dual-pur­pose trainer hav­ing left the rid­ing ranks, the 19-year-old is ul­ti­mately likely to suf­fer the same fate as his sib­ling given the size of his frame.

How­ever, he has al­ways been re­garded as a stylish pi­lot and he showed nerves be­yond his ten­der years on the big­gest stage.

Main­tain­ing his un­beaten record, the Deep Im­pact colt — now odds-on with some firms for the In­vestec Derby — had re­port­edly strength­ened up over the win­ter and duly cruised to the front over a fur­long out.

Tak­ing up the run­ning head­ing into the dip, the 3-1 win­ner never looked like be­ing caught, scor­ing by a length and a half and a head as he pro­vided the win­ning rider’s fa­ther, Ai­dan, with a ninth tri­umph in the colts’ show-piece.

Roger Teal’s 50/1 chance Tip Two Win ran a stormer to fin­ish sec­ond, with the Char­lie Ap­pleby-trained 5/2 favourite Masar in third.

Elar­qam ran well just out of the places in fourth, while Roar­ing Lion im­proved in leaps and bounds for his Craven run in fifth.

O’Brien said: “A huge thanks to all the own­ers for giv­ing me the chance to ride him and es­pe­cially to dad for the faith in putting me on him in the first place. “It’s very spe­cial. “Ob­vi­ously, I’m win­ning this race and rid­ing in big races be­cause of the po­si­tion I’m in.

“I’m just very grate­ful.

“He’s a very good horse, he’s a proper horse.”

He went on: “I wanted to fol­low Wil­liam Buick (on Masar) and Jim Crow­ley (on Elar­qam), but I was quite slowly away, so I had to change plan.

“He trav­elled beau­ti­fully, I thought I was the win­ner the whole way, but I prob­a­bly got a bit ex­cited at the two pole as I gave him a squeeze and got there too early, but he’s a very good horse.

“He might even come on for the run, ev­ery­one could see mon­ster of a horse.

“I thought he was a very good horse on his home­work — he’s very, very good.

“If I had to put my neck on the line, I’d say his op­ti­mum trip will be a mile and a quar­ter, he’s not slow, but he’s bred to stay.”

With O’Brien se­nior in Amer­ica su­per­vis­ing Men­delssohn in the Ken­tucky Derby, Paul Smith, son of co-owner Der­rick, said: “It was re­ally eye-catch­ing, Don­nacha couldn’t speak too highly of him.

“He said when he all over in a flash.

“He prob­a­bly got there sooner than he wanted to, but he had so much horse un­der him.

“It’s very ex­cit­ing when they have that speed and look like they’ll get fur­ther. All things point to June (Derby) now.”

He added: “That’s 300 Group One wins for Ai­dan and Don­nacha’s first Clas­sic.

“They are an in­cred­i­ble fam­ily.” Michael Ta­bor, another of the Cool­more part­ners, said: “Ob­vi­ously a mile is not his ideal trip, but when a horse has him to­day, quick­ened, he’s a it was got speed and the class of Saxon War­rior, we were al­ways hope­ful the mile would be fine, which it proved to be.

“There has to be more to come (over fur­ther), com­mon sense would say this is not his trip, but this is al­ways the best trial for a Derby as a rule.

“I’d rather back it than lay it, but evens is what he should be (Derby). Other horses will come out of the wood­work, I sup­pose, but they would have to be good to beat this one.

“Lis­ten, it’s a horse race know, things can hap­pen.

“And it’s a few weeks un­til the Derby — you can’t count your chick­ens — but if we ar­rive there then all things be­ing equal, he would have a strong favourite’s chance.

“I know what Ai­dan thinks of this horse, so I was not overly sur­prised.

“If you had have asked me be­fore the race, our num­ber one was Gus­tav (Klimt, sixth), who had al­ready had a run, but he was never re­ally trav­el­ling to­day.

“A classy horse would win the July Cup, I’m not say­ing he would, but you’ve got to have speed and he has cer­tainly got that.” and as we

Jour­ney’s end for Nick Ed­mund (above) came at the Old Head Links. And with charm­ing pre­ci­sion, his 2000km walk of the Wild At­lantic Way for Global-Golf4-Can­cer con­cluded on the fourth hole on May 4 at 4.44pm. To heighten aware­ness of the dis­ease from which he is cur­rently in re­mis­sion, the 58-year-old English­man com­pleted the first half of his Ir­ish odyssey 12 months ago, car­ry­ing a set of golf clubs on his back and play­ing the fourth hole of golf cour­ses along the way. Do­na­tions to www. glob­al­go­lf4­can­cer.org.

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