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Jack hammers his Derby rivals in Curragh classic

By Robert Jones

Jack Hobbs looked superb in going one better in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Second to his John Gosden-trained stablemate Golden Horn in the Investec Derby at Epsom, he faced the third and fourth from there along with the winner of the Oaks, Qualify, and the French Derby runner-up in Highland Reel.

His rider William Buick looked ultra confident throughout and Jack Hobbs stormed clear to beat Storm The Stars by five lengths, confirming Epsom form in style.

Gosden, winning the race for the first time, said: "He did it in good style. He got a nice split at the head of the straight and then William waited with him, which was right. You don't want to start pushing too soon. This old track takes some getting, but I love the way he finished his race out.

"We'll put him away now and go for the Prix Niel and then on to the Arc. We'll just try to have two more runs this year, he needs a holiday, this boy. He's big, rangy and quite light-framed and he just needs to fill out."

While it was a break in tradition for Aidan O'Brien not to win the feature, he did cause a minor upset in the Railway Stakes with Painted Cliffs under Ryan Moore.

"Ryan said he's a very nice horse. He likes him. Maybe we could leave the blinkers off him in future," said O'Brien after the 7-1 strike. RaceBets and Paddy Power make Painted Cliffs a 25-1 shot for next year's 2000 Guineas at Newmarket

Diamondsandrubies is bound for the Darley Irish Oaks after a sparkling display to hold off Legatissimo in a driving finish to the Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh yesterday.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained filly gamely made all in the hands of Seamie Heffernan and bravely repelled the challenge of Ryan Moore on the Qipco 1000 Guineas winner to claim the Group One spoils.

Two places behind Legatissimo when an unlucky fourth in the Investec Oaks, the 8-1 chance stepped forward in likeable fashion as she kept up the gallop in beating David Wachman's runner by a short head.

The James Fanshawe-trained Ribbons was close behind in third under Frankie Dettori.

Diamondsandrubies, who had also impressed when winning the Cheshire Oaks, will now return to the Curragh for the Irish Oaks on July 18.

"She was very unlucky at Epsom and was probably the most inconvenienced by the whole thing (interference a furlongs and a half out). She was always going to come here and we said we'd let Qualify take her chance in the Derby," said O'Brien.

"We'd like to have got a lead but that's not the way it worked out, and Seamie gave her a great ride.

"We'll ride her a bit more patiently over a mile and a half, and Qualify and Words will also run in the Irish Oaks."

Heffernan said: "I was a bit unlucky at Epsom. Aidan trains them to progress from run to run and today she was at her best, so hopefully there will be more improvement."

Bondi Beach (7-1) completed a quick big-race double for O'Brien and Heffernan with a gutsy victory in the At The Races Curragh Cup. The winner and his stablemate Order Of St George both earned quotes for the Ladbrokes St Leger, with Paddy Power going 12-1 Bondi Beach and 14-1 Order Of St George.

Forgotten Rules was sent off the 8-13 favourite to gain compensation for his third place in the Ascot Gold Cup, but was only fourth after leading well into the straight.

O'Brien said: "They look two proper St Leger horses, and have pulled right away as well. The mile and six furlongs helped Bondi Beach and Seamie gave him a great ride.

"Order Of St George was entitled to get tired. He was ready in the spring and then got a temperature. He could go for something like the Voltigeur at York, while the winner may not need another run (before Doncaster).

"Seamie has been with us since the start. He's a world-class rider and has been riding big-race winners for us for so long. He's a massive part of the team and nobody deserves it (big-race double) more than him."

Wachman and Moore enjoyed better luck with Most Beautiful in the Group Three Grangecon Stud Stakes. Given a positive ride, the 11-8 favourite tracked the unbeaten Miss Elizabeth to the quarter-mile pole, before hitting the front with a furlong to run to beat Only Mine by three-quarters of a length.

Wachman said: "She's always worked like a good filly. She's big and is still a bit weak, you could see that in the last furlong. She has a nice future.

"She's well entered up and will go further. The one thing is she likes goodish ground."

RaceBets make the daughter of Canford Cliffs 20-1 from 25-1 for the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

Moore also struck on all-the-way winner Air Pilot (8-15 favourite) in the Hermitage Medical Clinic International Stakes.

Ralph Beckett's six-year-old enjoyed an easy lead and had enough in the tank to shrug off Parish Hall by a length and a quarter.

Belfast Telegraph


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