Henry Longfellow brushed aside his rivals to give trainer Aidan O’Brien his 4000th career winner with an imperious display in the Gr1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.
The Ballydoyle maestro was on the brink of the milestone success following a fantastic four-timer on the opening day of the Irish Champions Festival, but the great trainer was made to wait until the two-year-old highlight for the colts on day two of the showpiece weekend to reach the landmark figure.
The race had looked like being a surprise showdown between Henry Longfellow and stablemate City Of Troy – who not only dominated the ante-post lists for this Group One event, but also next year’s Classics.
However, Henry Longfellow is also a talented operator in his own right and after the late defection of City Of Troy on account of the ground, Ryan Moore wasted little time switching mounts as the son of Dubawi demonstrated his class with a bloodless demolition.
Sent off the 10-11 favourite, the Futurity Stakes scorer travelled with supreme ease as outsider Cuban Thunder led along his Adrian Murray-trained stablemate Bucanero Fuerte on the front end.
As the field approached the two-furlong pole, Kevin Stott was already asking the Phoenix Stakes winner for maximum effort, whereas Moore and his high-class partner were only just warming up and with Bucanero Fuerte soon left in his wake, Henry Longfellow was allowed to give a glimpse of what is lurking under the bonnet as he sailed home to a five-length success over a running-on Islandsinthestream.
Paddy Power and Betfair make the winner 7-2 from 5s for next year’s 2000 Guineas, with both also going 6-1 from 8s for the Derby.
Enjoy the replay:
Moore said: “I thought he was very impressive today.
“They went a good pace and we’ve already seen what Wootton Bassett horse [Bucanero Fuerte] can do, he’s a serious horse and on this ground we thought he was a big danger, and my horse had him beat quickly.
“I know it was a disappointing field size but that was very good.
“He looks a very legitimate Guineas horse at the moment.”
“He looks very special”
“The pedigree of this horse is second to none. She was the best mare we ever trained (Minding) and Dubawi was the best out-cross that she could go to,” O’Brien said.
“He travels and he quickens and that is very difficult for other horses to handle.
“We knew this horse had run a couple of weeks ago and his dam handled the ground no problem. Everyone has been very happy with him and he looks a very special horse.
“His dam won over a mile, a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half.”
Of City Of Troy’s late withdrawal, O’Brien said: “City Of Troy hadn’t run for a good while and was going to improve from the run.
“Sometimes in that ground they can have a hard time. He would die on his feet for you today and we didn’t want to do that to him once the ground turned.
“I had said to the lads that we wouldn’t run City Of Troy on soft ground. We took a chance in Newmarket and got away with it. He’s too beautiful a mover. Ryan was adamant that it was closer to soft than good to yielding.
“He’ll look at the Dewhurst now, and if the ground is right that’s where he’ll be.
- Racing TV