Aidan O'Brien dominated the Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday evening training the first four home. Victory went the way of the fast improving Santiago who had won the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot a little over a week earlier. However, it proved a frustrating affair as far as followers of Ahead On The Flat were concerned with Dawn Patrol finishing an unlucky third. The son of Galileo, who is a half-brother to Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi, is featured in the Top 40 Prospects and he had finished a close second in a Leopardstown maiden on his reappearance. Stepping up in trip, as well as a considerable rise in class, he was held up early on by Ronan Whelan. Making good headway turning for home, he was about to get in contention when meeting trouble in running. Forced to pull wide, he stayed on strongly and, while beaten five and a quarter lengths, he would have been considerably closer with a clear run. On this evidence, he looks tailormade for the St Leger at Doncaster and is as short as 7/1 in places. Still a maiden, he is a most progressive colt who is capable of winning a big prize this year.
Thankfully, Desert Icon provided the Top 40 with a welcome winner at Newmarket on Sunday. Fourth on his reappearance over the same course and distance earlier this month, the four year old was due to contest the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot last week but missed the cut by one. Rerouted to his local track and fitted with cheekpieces, he made all and destroyed his four opponents by upwards of eight and a half lengths in the mile and a quarter handicap off a mark of 96. Ten furlongs on quick ground looks ideal at present and hopefully William Haggas' charge can progressed into a stakes performer at some stage.
The Unraced Three Year Olds section in AOTF had a profitable weekend with Sakura Petal (13/2) and Baarrij (5/1) winning at Newmarket and Windsor respectively. The pair were having their second outings and look promising fillies who will improve. Hudson River (3/1) defied a big drift beforehand to win on his debut at the Curragh and provide the Ballydoyle Juveniles with its latest winner. An impeccably bred colt by Galileo out of dual Nunthorpe Stakes winner Mecca's Angel, he made all in the seven furlongs maiden and looks all set for a step up in grade.
Following a frustrating week at Royal Ascot, William Haggas enjoyed a very good weekend with 5 winners, including the aforementioned Desert Icon and Baarrij.
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