O’Brien contingent dominate in Leopardstown Derby Trial
Aidan O'Brien saddled the first three home in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on a very successful weekend for the Ballydoyle handler.
With Churchill and Winter taking the 2000 and 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, it was left to Douglas Macarthur to lead the fleet home in south Dublin.
O'Brien has saddled 10 previous winners of this prestigious event, with subsequent Epsom heroes Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002) – as well as four-time Gold Cup victor Yeats (2004) – among those on the roll of honour.
This year O'Brien fired three bullets and though Douglas Macarthur had fared best of of the trio when runner-up in the Ballysax Stakes a month ago, he was the Ballydoyle outsider at 7-1.
Emmet McNamara's mount set out to make all the running, but stablemate Capri, fourth in the Ballysax, ranged alongside rounding the home turn.
Yucatan, who finish third in the Ballysax, was the 13-8 favourite, and he finished strongly to set up a grandstand finish.
However, Douglas Macarthur clung on grimly against the rail to score by a head.
Yucatan just beat Capri to the runner-up spot.
Bean Feasa eventually wore down the front-running Asking to claim top honours in the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial.
The Jim Bolger-trained Bean Feasa was the 100-30 favourite shot to open her account at the sixth attempt in this Group Three contest.
Asking gave a bold sight in front under Ana O'Brien and briefly looked to have her rivals on the stretch early in the straight.
However, her stride began to shorten racing inside the final furlong and Bean Feasa was ultimately well on top as she passed the post two and three-quarter lengths ahead in the hands of Kevin Manning.
British raider Custom Cut dominated from the front in the Ard Glen Construction Amethyst Stakes.
David O'Meara's charge brought strong course form to the Foxrock circuit, having twice won at the track, and was a 9-2 shot under Daniel Tudhope.
The eight-year-old was soon bowling along at the head of affairs and while the Dermot Weld-trained Raymonda was produced with what looked a timely challenge by Pat Smullen, Custom Cut stuck to his guns admirably to seal a half-length success.
Cougar Mountain finished strongly to take third place, another nose in arrears.
Tudhope said: "He obviously likes it here. I wanted to make it a good test of stamina as he's a tough horse to pass.
"To come back here and win a Group Three, he's still got it."
Woman of the hour Jessica Harrington doubled up in the opening two maidens on the card.
Brother Bear will head for Royal Ascot after he made an impressive winning debut in the opener.
The two-year-old Kodiac colt was a 9-1 chance for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden and was two lengths too sharp for Sioux Nation in the hands of Colm O'Donoghue.
The pair swiftly doubled up as Pincheck (5-2) recorded a narrow success in the Mortons Coaches Maiden.
The trainer said: "Colm gave him a bit of time and then he got stopped on his first run but he got going again. He's a beautiful, big horse."
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