Ernest retains Curragh Cup crown
Ernest Hemingway defended his Group 3 Curragh Cup crown, on what was a very good day for trainer Aidan O’Brien. Yesterday, of course, was a fabulous day for the Ballydoyle team with Australia’s facile victory in the Irish Derby and the brilliant form of the stable continued with a fantastic four timer on the day, with leg three coming in the Attheraces Curragh Cup.
The 5yo, sent off the 6/4 favourite to defend his title, Ernest Hemingway came with a solid effort before the final furlong, eventually pulling clear to score by 2 lengths. Mick Halford’s Certerach finished second, with John Oxx’s Tarana back in third.
O’Brien said: “He loves fast ground, hard ground is the key to him. All his good form has been on that – he is able to quicken and put his toe out.
“He doesn’t get that very often. His last run was in Dubai and he didn’t get his ground since. At Ascot the only options for him were the Queen Alexandra with a double penalty or the Gold Cup.
“He’s very ground dependent and he won’t go anywhere unless it’s good fast ground. We’ll look at the Goodwood Cup over two miles for him.”
Earlier on the card the impressive Gleneagles got the O’Brien team’s day off to the perfect start, shooting clear to win the 7f maiden by 2 1/2 lengths, earning a quote of 33/1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas in the process.
12/1 shot I Am Beautiful brought up a quick double with a shock victory in the Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes under an assured ride from Seamie Heffernan. The pair made all in the 6f contest and having held a decent lead halfway, showed real grit to stay in front in the closing stages, eventually winning by just a short-head.
Mekong River would bring up the four timer with another narrow victory in the Group 3 Friarstown Stud Stakes, just holding on to win by a neck from Parish Hall, with O’Brien saying of the winner: “He was tough and Seamus gave him a good ride. We weren’t sure about the fast ground for him, but on the good to firm ground he seemed to step up. He looks like a horse who will get a mile and a half.
“All the horses are running well and are running consistently now.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
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