Success Days denied Fascinating Rock victory in the Royal Whip
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Dew 3:50PM 21 AUG 2016
Report: Curragh, Sunday
Kilfrush Stud Royal Whip Stakes (Group 3), 1m2f, 3yo+
IN A CLASH of the generations the betting suggested this was all about Derby runner-up US Army Ranger and Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Fascinating Rock – but Success Days and Shane Foley hadn’t read the script as they landed a pillar-to-post success in great style.
Without a win since last May, the Ken Condon-trained grey colt had finished third and over five lengths behind Fascinating Rock at the Curragh three months ago but reversed that form in no uncertain terms.
The four-year-old led Fascinating Rock from the start and they remained first and second throughout with Foley pushing clear to score by a diminishing three-quarters of a length. US Army Ranger could manage only fourth after briefly looking a threat in the final couple of furlongs.
It was a third success at Group level for Success Days, who clearly thrived given his favoured yielding conditions, as his thrilled trainer noted: “He got the ground he loves and I’m delighted with him. He’s been inclined to wander off a straight line in the past but he kept dead straight today.
“If there’s cut in the ground he’ll head for the Irish Champion Stakes and if the ground is too quick at Leopardstown we’ll aim him at the Champion Stakes at Ascot.”
Dermot Weld was also more than pleased with the performance of Fascinating Rock, who carried 5lb more than the winner.
“I’m delighted with him but I think it’s a pity a horse has to carry 10st in a race like this,” he said. “He could go for the Irish Champion Stakes if the ground is suitable – he doesn’t want it quick.”
O’Brien was not despondent with US Army Ranger’s first run since Epsom after missing the Irish Derby with a setback, and said: “He just got a bit tired which wasn’t surprising as he’d been off a long time.
“It got a bit rough on the bend. He should be fine and should come on for the run. The Irish Champion might be next but we’ll wait and see how he is.”