Magician gave Aidan O’Brien his ninth victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
Sent off at 100-30 and ridden by the trainer’s son, Joseph, the colt followed a strong pace set firstly by Ask Dad, and then by the Jim Bolger representative Trading Leather, who still looked in control with a couple of furlongs remaining.
O’Brien junior never panicked and Magician powered clear to end up a convincing winner, with Gale Force Ten completing a Ballydoyle one-two.
O’Brien junior, winning his third Irish 2,000 Guineas, said: “He’s a very, very tough horse and tries very hard. He stays well, he handles fast ground, he relaxes. He’s a horse that is improving every day.
“We went a nice gallop, I was always very happy throughout the whole race. I was able to dictate things my own way.
“After passing the three (furlong marker) I was very, very happy. I thought it would take a really, really good one to come and get me. He galloped all the way to the line. He has loads of pace. I think the key to him is fast ground.
“He settles very well and he has a great attitude - I couldn’t say he wouldn’t get further than 10 furlongs, either.”
Coolmore supremo John Magnier told At The Races: “He did it well you have to say, he was impressive. This is an improving horse and being by Galileo he should stay further.
“We’ll discuss it (plans), but all there are all kinds of options. We could go the St James’s Palace route, and we’ve done crazy things before - we could run him at Epsom or go for the Eclipse. I’m saying that (Epsom) tongue in cheek, but we could. We’ll savour the moment and not get carried away.”
Birdie caught by flying Glass
There was a 33-1 shock to the opener on Irish Guineas weekend as Glassatura collared Bye Bye Birdie in the equisoftlive.com European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden at the Curragh.
Joseph O’Brien had made most on his father Aidan’s 1-2 favourite Bye Bye Birdie, but as soon as a gap appeared for the Michael Halford-trained newcomer she shot through and quickly got to the market leader.
A neck was the winning margin for the Shane Foley-ridden daughter of Verglas.
Halford said: “She has shown us plenty form the start at home. We do like her and she could go on to better things. She got the trip well. She might go up in trip not back.
“We’ll step her up into a Listed race at Naas (June 3). We wanted to get a nice introduction into her and she did well to win from where she was.
“Shane said she was keen going to the start so he dropped her in and she was probably further back than he wanted to be.
“She accelerated well when she got into the clear. I expect her to come on from the run. Price doesn’t matter to us, her owners are into breeding and we are not a punting yard.”
Hitchens back on top in Greenlands
Hitchens repeated his Weatherbys Greenlands Stakes win of two years ago under a fine ride from Johnny Murtagh at the Curragh.
Trained in North Yorkshire by David Barron, the eight-year-old got a nice tow into the race as Leitir Mor set just a reasonable gallop on the rail.
The leader gave way a furlong out and Murtagh’s mount (13-2) showed a nice turn of foot to put the Group Three event to bed, scoring by a neck from Reply.
Murtagh said: “He quickened through well, I thought he was always going to win. The owners were very happy with him today, they said he was in good form.
“He didn’t like Newmarket (seventh in a handicap last time out), coming down the hill there and the firm ground didn’t suit him. The ground is lovely today, though.”
Coach oozes class in Marble
Coach House looked a horse with a very bright future as the O’Briens got back on track in the Cold Move European Breeders Fund Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh.
Abbakova took them along on the rail, but O’Brien junior stoked his mount up a furlong and a half out and he pulled nicely clear when engaging top gear to beat Club Wexford with plenty in hand.
A son of Oasis Dream, Coach House, the 4-6 favourite, was winning for the second time from three starts and appears bound for Royal Ascot.
Aidan O’Brien said: “We thought he was a nice horse. He won nicely first time. He’s a lovely two-year-old. He has speed enough for five so he has all the options at Royal Ascot.
“Joseph said he showed lots of speed and that he even got there a bit early on him. He’ll maybe get six or seven furlongs in time.”
Owner John Magnier said: “Maybe the five-furlong Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot would be a race for him.”
Maarek thwarted by stone bruise
Maarek could head straight to Royal Ascot after he was taken out of the Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.
The Group Two-winning sprinter has been sidelined by a stone bruise.
David Nagle’s inmate will now come under consideration for the Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly next Sunday, but is more likely to be preserved for the Royal meeting, where he has entries in the King’s Stand Stakes and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Fethard-based Nagle said: “It’s nothing too serious - he should be fine in a few days - but we obviously can’t take any chances.
“There’s France next weekend, but I’d say it’s more likely he’ll head straight there (Ascot).”
Bittar hopes for Dettori resolution
British Horseracing Authority chief executive Paul Bittar is hopeful jockey Frankie Dettori can be given the go-ahead to return to action before next weekend’s Investec Derby meeting at Epsom.
French racing authority France Galop banned Dettori, 42, for six months after he tested positive for cocaine at Longchamp last September, with his suspension reciprocated by the BHA.
The Italian had this week been due to make his comeback, but Dettori remains exiled from the sport after a test carried out by France Galop produced, according to Bittar, an “irregularity”.
The BHA chief is expectant the jockey’s return to the saddle will now be hastened after he spent the last few days in France in an attempt to address the issue.
He told The Morning Line: “I know him and his team have spent quite a lot of time with France Galop over the last few days.
“As soon as he has satisfied all of their requirements we are in a position to move very quickly.
“I know they (France Galop) are very hopeful he will satisfy all of their requirements in the next few days.
“If they can, we are in a position to green light him very quickly.
“The information in the public domain is all the information that France Galop have given us - just that there was an irregularity and they sought to discuss the issue with him.”
Moth and Say fly Ballydoyle flag
Moth and Say will represent Aidan O’Brien in the Investec Oaks at Epsom next week. Moth finished third in the 1000 Guineas, while her stable companion shed her maiden tag with a nine-length romp on a Cork maiden earlier in the month. O’Brien also has Snow Queen left in the race, but said: “Snow Queen is going for the Irish Guineas. The other two (Moth and Say) haven’t done a lot of work, they don’t need it, but are both in good shape and are going for the Oaks.”
Ralph Beckett has firmed up the riding arrangements for his Oaks contenders, with Jim Crowley sticking with Secret Gesture and Richard Hughes coming in for the mount on Talent. Secret Gesture is favourite after treating her rivals with disdain in the Lingfield Oaks Trial.
She has been ridden by Crowley in all three of her races. Talent lived up to her name by winning the Pretty Polly Stakes on Guineas weekend at Newmarket, a race Ouija Board won on her way to the top.
“Jim will ride Secret Gesture and he will come and sit on her in the morning. Richard Hughes will come in and have a sit on Talent, and he’ll ride her as well,” said Beckett, who won the Oaks with Look Here in 2008. “I’ve not done a lot with Secret Gesture since Lingfield, but we’ll do a piece with her on the grass. Talent has done very well since the Pretty Polly, I’m pleased with her.”
Ten-year ban for rider Ahern
Group One-winning jockey Eddie Ahern has been disqualified for a total of 10 years following the conclusion of a British Horseracing Authority corruption hearing. Ahern, 35, was found guilty of conspiring to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice in relation to the laying of five horses between September 2010 and February 2011.
He was also found in breach of intentionally failing to ensure Judgethemoment was ridden on its merits at Lingfield in January 2011, and of passing information for reward. Former West Bromwich Albion footballer Neil Clement has been disqualified from the sport for a total of 15 years and three months.
He faced charges relating to the five races Ahern rode in and also the laying of Hindu Kush, who he then owned, when that horse finished last of six at Kempton in February 2011. The 34-year-old was found guilty of conspiring to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice, of placing a lay bet on Hindu Kush and of a failure to provide phone records.
Ahern’s solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore said his client intends to appeal both the BHA disciplinary panel’s findings and the severity of the suspension. Stewart-Moore said in a statement issued to Press Association Sport: “Eddie Ahern is absolutely devastated by the BHA Panel’s findings. He did not breach the rules of racing as found by the panel or at all and he will be appealing both the findings as well as the very harsh penalties imposed on him.”