Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien wins four prep races for the Derby at Epsom

Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien wins four prep races for the Derby at Epsom

Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien wins four prep races for the Derby at Epsom

May 13 (UPI) — The Coolmore-Aidan O’Brien march through the Classics trials hit a minor bump Sunday at ParisLongchamp as Godolphin’s young star, Persian King, showed stamina and determination in landing the Group 1 Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains, or French 2,000 Guineas.

Persian King, an Irish-bred Kingman colt, with Pierre-Charles Boudot up for trainer Andre Fabre, scored his fifth straight win as the odds-on favorite.

Persian King faced a tough field in Sunday’s race and the triumph sets him up nicely for the next step, which could be the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club, or French Derby, or a tilt at Royal Ascot. The decision is complicated as Godolphin has several ownership partners but Fabre said the Jockey Club “is the obvious target.”

Sunday’s competition, however, did not include the best of Ballydoyle as the only O’Brien charge in the race, Van Beethoven, was dispatched at odds of 40-1 and ran to that assessment, finishing sixth, beaten 5 lengths.

Things went much more the way of the Coolmore-O’Brien team Sunday in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown in Ireland where the prohibitive favorite, Broome, emerged from well back of pacesetting Blenheim Palace, took full charge in the final furlong and won by 2 1/2 lengths over that rival. Sovereign pressed the pace and held third, giving the lads from Coolmore a sweep of the placings. O’Brien used the race as a prep for his first two Derby winners, Galileo and High Chaparral.

“We’re very pleased,” O’Brien said, indicating Epsom “will be next” for Broome “providing he comes out of this race okay.”

O’Brien charge Anthony van Dyke smoothly won Saturday’s RaceBets Derby Trial at Lingfield, joining stablemate and Wednesday’s Chester Vase winner Sir Dragonet in the top rank of Derby favorites. The Galileo colt, making his first start since finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, asserted himself in the final furlongs at Lingfield and was clearly best off the layoff.

“That was very smooth all the way around for Anthony Van Dyck and he was happy going up in trip,” jockey Ryan Moore told Racing Post. “He’ll improve for the run.”

Broome, Anthony Van Dyke and Sir Dragonet were joined in the O’Brien Derby brigade this week by Circus Maximus, victorious over stablemate Mohawk in Thursday’s Dee Stakes at Chester. Next Thursday, the multiply delayed but much-anticipated Japan finally is set to go in the Dante Stakes at York.

Japan

Normcor found daylight midway down the Tokyo Racecourse stretch in Sunday’s Grade 1 Victoria Mile and was up just in time to post the upset win, shaving 0.8 second off the course record. Primo Scene and Crocosmia were second and third in the blanket finish with the favorite, Lucky Lilac, settling for fourth.

With recent arrival Damian Lane in the irons, Normcor, a 4-year-old daughter of Harbinger, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:30.5, picking up her first Grade 1 win.

The gray filly raced mid-field into the stretch, then found herself well behind the leaders and behind a wall of rivals. With 350 meters to go, she shifted outside a rival and, under steady urging, efficiently closed the gap and was in front for the final few strides.

“It feels great to win a Grade 1 in Japan,” said Lane, an Australian who has been riding in Japan on a temporary ticket only since the end of April.

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