Irish trainers Jim Bolger and Aidan O’Brien both won Group 1 races abroad on Saturday. Bolger trained MacSwiney to win the Vertem Trophy and Doncaster, while Aidan O’Brien was successful with Van Gogh at Saint-Cloud.
MacSwiney, who won a Group 2 on soft ground at The Curragh in August displayed his stamina and tenacity in the final British Group 1 of the season to win by three-quarters of a length.
The winner (12/1) was last to challenge under Kevin Manning as he overhauled eventual third Baradar (9/1) and held of the 6/4f One Ruler.
It was a first British Group 1 for Manning since Pléascach took the 2015 Yorkshire Oaks.
The winning rider said of MacSwiney:
“He’s got a great attitude and didn’t fight me through the race, but at the business end he’s there when you want him.”
Named after Terence MacSwiney
The colt is named after the Irish playwright and politician Terence MacSwiney, who died 100 years ago on 25 October 1920, in Brixton prison. The Cork man had been on hunger strike have been placed in Brixton charged with sedition.
“I must have known he was good back in January when I named him Mac Swiney” said winning trainer Jim Bolger. “It wouldn’t have been good for me or anyone around here to name a horse after a Cork man if he wasn’t very good”, he joked.
“He’s one of our outstanding patriots and I’m thrilled for his memory that this fellow was able to go back to England 100 years after his death and win like he did.”
Van Gogh wins French Group 1
Van Gogh produced an impressive burst of speed to win the Group One Criterium International for Aidan O’Brien at Saint-Cloud.
Ridden by French jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot, Van Gogh was last of the six runners until entering the home straight. Boudot quickly moved the 2-year-old to the rail on the stand side before he ran on for a comfortable victory.
It was a first European Group 1 win for the colt’s sire, American Pharoah, as Van Gogh won by our lengths from long-time leader Normandy Bridge.
Though it was his seventh career start, it was Van Gogh first race on heavy ground, something he seemed to relish.
Winning jockey, Boudot, said of the winner:
“He is impressive. Aidan told me before the race that he needed cover, for a nice trip and be relaxed. He has a nice turn of foot. He is still green and tricky when he arrived in front, but he won in very good style.”