O'Brien's top four

Horse & Hound|July 02, 2020

O'Brien's top four
The brilliant Aidan O’Brien dominates the Irish Derby and claims his 14th win in the race with star colt Santiago
MARCUS ARMYTAGE

The Curragh, Co Kildare, Ireland

SANTIAGO is rapidly becoming Aidan O’Brien’s star colt from his Classic generation. Eight days after winning the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, he led home a one-two-three-four for the stable in the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Derby on Saturday, 27 June, giving the trainer a record-extending 14th victory in the race.

No less than 10 of the 15 runners – the largest field assembled for the race since The Minstrel won it in 1977 – were trained by members of the O’Brien family (Aidan, Joseph, and Donnacha). But ultimately it was the same old story – the winner was trained by the incomparable Aidan O’Brien.

Once or twice the race has not quite gone quite to script for the Ballydoyle team with Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck beaten by Sovereign last year, Saxon Warrior beaten by Joseph’s Latrobe in 2018 and another Epsom victor Wings Of Eagles beaten by Capri in 2017.

Jockey Seamie Heffernan was the first riding choice in Ireland, with Ryan Moore unable to cross the Irish Sea for the time being. And if there was a Ballydoyle equine pecking order, the Authorized colt Santiago – who shares a sire with dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll – is top of it.

Having won over 1¾ miles at Ascot, Santiago was not going to suffer from a lack of stamina, and he showed a good turn of foot and went a few lengths clear a quarter of a mile from home.

Either a little tired from the previous week or perhaps idling a little – having looked like he had done enough to put the race to bed – Santiago then had to contend with the late thrust of stablemate Tiger Moth, thus far only a maiden winner, flying down the outside.

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July 02, 2020