Fame And Glory
Fame And Glory brought more fame and glory to Ballydoyle and Aidan O’Brien at the Curragh on Sunday. Bet to the exclusion of his ten rivals, Fame And Glory, John Murtagh aboard, won going away. Five lengths behind in second was Golden Sword, Colm O’Donoghue up, another O’Brien trainee. Mourayan, a stablemate of Sea The Stars who was a defection, carried the Aga Khan’s silks to take third. A length separated Golden Sword and Mourayan.
It was sartorially perfect weather in Kildare County and the sun was beating down. Talk of a delightful afternoon and you had it. A gentle wind blew across the track. The skies were clear blue. A story book could not have described it better.
The bookmakers were running for cover. Fame And Glory, for the most part, was 4-6. You could have bet at 4-5 in the first few moments after the betting began, There were some who offered 8-11. Masterofthehorse was 9-2 and 5-1. The others were at longer odds.
In the ‘without’ Fame And Glory market, Masterofthehorse was the 5-2 choice.
I took an each way bet on Golden Sword. I got 12-1 and 1/5 of the win odds for place and there were three places. In England and Ireland, the place odds are based on the win odds. In my case, the place odds were 24/10.
I watched the race on a giant TV in the media centre in the Curragh infield. Golden Sword showed out for a moment or two and Rockhampton, an Aidan O’Brien runner, took over. Jockey S M Levey went into a long lead and at one point, led by as many as 10 lengths. O’Donoghue lay second with Golden Sword. Mourayan was third.
Fame And Glory was fifth and sixth and was saving ground. Masterofthehorse, with Seamus Heffernan who was going for a Derby hat trick, was tracking the favorite. With 800 metres to run, Rockhampton’s lead was being cut. There were 600 metres left and O’Donoghue drew first blood. Golden Sword struck the front with Mourayan in chase.
Golden Sword had a three-length break over Mourayan and Fame And Glory was alerted to the task. For a fleeting moment, it appeared that Colm had stolen a march. There were 300 metres to go and Fame And Glory cruised up to Golden Sword. In the next few strides, the Montjeu colt began to put some separation between himself and Golden Sword. As John Murtagh began easing up, Fame And Glory crossed the wire five lengths in front.
Golden Sword kept second place and Mourayan managed third. Masterofthehorse was a distant fourth.
The time for the 2400-metre Irish Derby was 2 30.87 seconds. Montjeu is Fame And Glory’s sire.
Gryada is the dam. Fame And Glory was winning the fifth race in a six-race career. He won two races as a freshman. His only loss came in the Epsom Derby in early June. It was the third Irish Derby win for jockey Murtagh.
He won with Sinndaar in 2000. His second win was in 2003 when Alamshar beat the mighty Dalakhani. They were both owned by the Aga Khan.
It was the seventh win for Aidan O’Brien in the Irish Derby. He passed the six-Derby score established by the late Vincent O’Brien.
In 1997, Desert King won it with Christy Roche. Galileo did it in 2001 with Mick Kinane who repeated in 2002 with High Chapparal. Kieren Fallon won with Dylan Thomas in 2006. In 2007, Seamus Heffernan won with Solidier of Fortune when the Curragh looked like a lake. Frozen Fire, again with jockey Heffernan, got the job done last year.
Now, Aidan O’Brien has won Ireland’s premier horserace four years in a row.
The first question at the press conference came from me. “What was different about Fame And Glory today? Was he in better form than at Epsom? Did you do anything different?”
O’Brien answered. “He is improving all the time. He’s progressive.
He has a wonderful attitude. From Epsom to here, he is a much better, stronger colt.”
I asked O’Brien about conquering new horizons and if the Breeders’ Cup Classic would be considered.
“Every big race will be on the table. The Champion Stakes, the Arc and of course, the Breeders’ Cup.
Fame And Glory, I believe, will adjust to Santa Anita’s surface.”
I presented O’Brien with a Hawthorne (a Chicago track) t-shirt that had the runners in the 2009 Illinois Derby printed on the back. He held it up and I took a picture. I am so inept that my picture did not carry O’Brien’s face. I need training in the photo-taking department.
John Murtagh did not attend the conference. A press release had excerpts of what he said. “I knew Fame And Glory will be a different proposition altogether from Epsom. He improved quite a bit. I don’t care what turned up.
He would have been hard to beat. He is better mentally, much sharper and on the ball. He is a very high class horse and cruised round there. I left him alone but once we turned the hill, he really came on the bridle and I did not have to touch him.”
Commenting on a possible clash with Sea The Stars, Murtagh had this to say.
“Sea The Stars is up 1-0 but hopefully we will lock horns later in the year. It will be great for racing.”
John Magnier made a statement at the press conference. “Vincent O’Brien linked all the great bloodlines. He set up Ballydoyle.
Aidan has continued the tradition and Vincent would be very proud.”
The Railway Stakes, a 1200-metre Group II race for two year-olds has been an Aidan O’Brien stranglehold. It did not change on Sunday. Alfred Nobel, who broke maiden recently, stormed up the centre in the last 200 metres to justify favoritism. John Murtagh was aboard.
Alfred Nobel is by Danehill Dancer. The race was run in 1 15.05. Alfred Nobel got a 14-1 quote for the 2000 Guineas next year.
It was the eleventh time that Aidan O’Brien was winning the Railway Stakes.
King of Kings, Rock of Gibraltar and George Washington won the Railway Stakes and went on to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. O’Brien said that Alfred Nobel will get better as the colt matures and will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors.
I was thrilled to see Niall McCullagh win the 3 40 P M third race on Derby day. You may remember I had written about Mountain Coral in one of my reports. At 8-1 and the kind of form he was in, Mountain Coral deserved a bet.
He was winning his fourth consecutive race. Seachantach, one of the fancied horses, dropped R Whelan, an apprentice, and ran the trip and was scratched. There was a deduction in the payoff. I greeted Niall on his way back to the jockeys’ room after the presentation.
The Grand Prix de Saint Cloud in Paris on Sunday was scheduled to go off at 3 20 P M Ireland time.
I was in front of a TV near the Ladbrokes betting area and the start was delayed by several minutes. Scintillo, Richard Hughes up, was reluctant to enter his stall. Youmzain was the even money favorite. Dream Desert, Sam Hitchcott up, set out on a strong gallop and Alpine Rose, Gerard Mosse up, raced behind. Spanish Moon lay within striking range.
Christophe Soumillon had Youmzain held up. Alpine Rose hit the front in the lane with Spanish Moon moving up to dispute the issue. Youmzain was under a drive and making up ground. Responding to Ryan Moore’s call, Spanish Moon caught and went ahead of Alpine Rose in the waning yards. Youmzain was third.
The ironic thing about this race is this. Spanish Moon did not get into his stall in Newmarket’s Jockey Club Stakes in May and has been banned from England until later this year. On Sunday, Spanish Moon was on his best behavior. It was Scintillo, a horse known for good behavior, who held up the start.
As the Saint Cloud race ended, the Celebration Stakes began at the Curragh.
Famous Name, ridden by Pat Smullen and trained by Dermot Weld, made the race a no contest. Khalid Abdullah owns Famous Name. Now, who was Spanish Moon’s owner? Ryan Moore was wearing Khalid Abdullah’s colours of emerald green, pink sash, white sleeves and pink cap. So, it was Khalid Abdullah winning two big races in two countries in a matter of minutes.
I will have my last report from Dublin on Tuesday.
I will talk about my conversation with John Oxx, trainer of Sea The Stars. I spent a few minutes with Niall McCullagh. A picture was taken that did not come out OK. Niall had a thought or two about Set Alight. I chatted with Danny Grant and he talked about his experience in India.
The picture that his girlfriend took turned out fine. I had a chance to have a word with Colm O’Donoghue. It was Chris Hayes I missed meeting. He had a runner in almost every race. My belief is he may not have recognized me when I gestured to him.
The doorkeepers, both Saturday and Sunday, in the weighing room were extremely unhelpful characters. I met Mrs and Mr Iqbal Nathani