Aidan O’Brien made it 18 victories in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes as Japan pounced late to deny stablemate Mount Everest in the feature event on a high class card at Naas.
The trainer sent out three runners in his bid to win this race for the eighth year in a row and Mount Everest looked to have done enough entering the last furlong but he was collared in the final yards by Seamus Heffernan and Japan who was taking a big step forward from his recent maiden win at Listowel.
“You couldn’t be happier with that,” O’Brien said. “I thought he’d come forward again from today but he’s a big hardy horse so he could be a type of horse for Doncaster (Vertem Futurity Trophy) next month. He travelled well and done everything right.”
Bookmakers Paddy Power cut the Beresford Stakes winner Japan from 50/1 to 25/1 for the Epsom Derby next year.
On what was a memorable weekend for the Ballydoyle trainer, Hermosa recorded a front running success in the Group 3 Weld Park Stakes. The Ryan Moore-ridden filly saw off the effort to Foxtrot Liv to win by two and a half lengths and she will now tackle the Group 1 Fillies Mile.
There was further Group 3 glory for O’Brien and Ryan Moore as Cypress Creek relished every yard to the two mile trip to defeat the 2016 winner Twilight Payment in the Loughbrown Stakes.
Earlier O’Brien and Moore combined to land the opener with the newcomer Magna Grecia who won with plenty to spare. The 2/1 favourite is likely to step up to Group 3 level next month.
For the second year in succession the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes went for export as Unfortunately struck for Karl Burke and Chris Hayes. The Group 1-winning two-year-old had struggled for form this season but he recaptured last year’s sparkle with a last furlong charge that carried him past the front running St Patrick’s Day late on.
“I’m delighted to have a winner at Naas and it is a relief to get this horse back to form. When owners like Cheveley Park comes in you want to do well for them and things just haven’t dropped for the horse this year. I’ll have to speak to Chris Richardson and the team now but if the ground came up with a cut in it I don’t think we’d have anything to lose by running him in the Ascot Sprint (on Champions Day),” Burke said.
It was a day to remember for John Grogan as Rapid Reaction sprang a 12/1 surprise in the valuable Joe McGrath Handicap. The three-year-old is the only horse under the care of the Tipperary-based trainer.
The valuable Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Race Final at Naas on October 21st is the target for the Patrick Prendergast-trained Cedars Of Lebanon after she turned in a game front running display in the six furlongs auction race.
Free repro images – Credit Amy Lynam