Capri (6-1), sixth in the Investec Epsom Derby, gave jockey Séamus Heffernan his 3rd win, and trainer Aidan O’Brien his 12th success in the Dubai Duty Free Derby at The Curragh on Saturday evening.
Capri’s stable mate, Wings Of Eagles who won at Epsom in early June, started the race as 2-1 favourite under Ryan Moore. Cracksman, third to Wings Of Eagles at Epsom, and Waldgeist from France, were seen as the two main challengers to the Ballydoyle market leader.
The Anvil under Anna O’Brien made the early pace, with stable mates Douglas Macarthur and Taj Mahal in pursuit, along with Capri. With the O’Brien team occupying first to fifth places at one stage in the race, it appeared as though the Classic was lined up for Wings Of Eagles turning for home.
Once The Anvil weakened, Capri got first run on the more fancied runners and kicked on two furlongs out. Ryan Moore was pushing on the favourite from a fair distance out as his mount and Cracksman came to challenge. As the John Gosden-trained Cracksman flew down the outside in the last furlong, and Wings Of Eagles made his challenge, Heffernan’s horse was game and willing to hold them off, and had a neck to spare on the Pat Smullen-ridden Cracksman at the line, with a further head back to Wings Of Eagles.
Winning trainer, Aidan O’Brien was full of praise for Séamie Heffernan’s ride on the winner:
“I thought Séamus gave him a brilliant ride. He paced it brilliantly. He had a target there and he knew the field was coming behind him but he timed it to perfection. What he did wasn’t an easy thing to do. The pace was strong up front, and he was sitting right in the eye of the storm. He had a choice how close he followed it (the pace) or not to follow it and he knew all the fancied horses were behind him. It was a master class from him, really.”
Heffernan previously won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby with Soldier Of Fortune and Frozen Fire in 2007 and 2008 respectively, both trained by Aidan O’Brien.
O’Brien suggested the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner may now get a well earned rest following a busy early season and return for an autumn campaign.