Kompany stays Kool to outgun War Envoy
Aidan O'Brien's hopes for his juvenile team at Royal Ascot suffered a setback yesterday with the defeat of his much-vaunted War Envoy in the Alfred Nobel Rochestown Stakes.
The Ballydoyle colt was sent off 8/15 favourite, but he had no answer to Kool Kompany, who proved a successful raider for Richard Hannon.
Stepping up in trip following wins over five furlongs at Leicester and Windsor, the 7/2 shot was a little keen at the head of affairs but stuck to his guns admirably when pressed by Toscanini and the O'Brien entry.
Toscanini, carrying the Godolphin colours for Michael Halford, was only a head behind at the finish, with three-quarters of a length back to War Envoy.
It was another notable success in Ireland for the owners Middleham Park Racing syndicate, which struck in the National Stakes last year with champion two-year-old Toormore, but a first for the trainer since taking over from his father.
Middleham Park racing manager Tim Palin said: "It was a bit of a gamble going over to Ireland to take on an Aidan O'Brien horse in his own backyard. We would have been happy with second, but we went over there thinking he would run a good race.
"He's actually done very well to win as he got a bit upset in the stalls. He jinked at the start of the race and was then too keen and didn't settle. He could be a 5lb better horse when things go right.
"It's onwards and upwards from here and the automatic thought is the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Obviously The Great War is there, but I think we've achieved as much as him."
O'Brien said: "I might have left him (War Envoy) a bit short. We were looking at Ascot on the way here and he got a bit tired. He'll go for the Coventry. The Great War might go for the Norfolk. He's good, he's had two runs and we nearly got a third into him."
O'Brien and his son Joseph gained compensation later in the afternoon as American recruit Due Diligence (5/4 favourite) blew away his rivals in the Lacken Stakes.
O'Brien said: "You'd have to be delighted with that. The better the ground, the better it will suit him. He has the choice of the Jersey or the Diamond Jubilee (at Royal Ascot).
"He's a big striding horse with a big cruise and he's uncomplicated. He should come on again."
The O'Briens doubled up with 6/1 shot Table Rock, which captured the closing one-mile handicap in comfortable fashion.
Dermot Weld's Tested quickly bounced back from her slightly disappointing showing in the Irish 1,000 Guineas with victory in the Owenstown Stud Stakes by a length and three-quarters from Slipper Orchid.
"It was a little soon (after the Guineas) but I was very happy with her. It was heavy ground in the Guineas and she didn't get home," the trainer explained.
"We'll look for a Group race for her now. She's had three quick runs in succession so she might get a break now."
The Kevin Prendergast-trained Beach Belle (15/8 favourite) made it two from two with a last-to-first victory in the Coolmore Stud EBF Sprint Stakes in the hands of Chris Hayes.
Prendergast said: "She's a good filly. She probably won't run until the Phoenix Stakes or the Moyglare. We'll go that way instead (of Royal Ascot)."
John Oxx's 3/1 favourite Hazaraba confirmed the promise of her juvenile debut with a dominant front-running victory under Declan McDonogh in the opening fillies maiden.