Willie Mullins: saddled Wicklow Brave to Irish Classic success
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Jack Haynes 4:54PM 11 SEP 2016
Report: Curragh, Sunday
Palmerstown House Estate Irish St. Leger (Group 1) 1m6f, 3yo
THE Irish St Leger did its best to replicate the English equivalent in terms of drama with 1-7 favourite Order Of St George beaten by Wicklow Brave in a stirring renewal.
The market leader, a warm order in the betting and warm order in the race, awash with sweat, looked to be finding for pressure in the straight for Ryan Moore but could not pass the game Wicklow Brave, who made all by half a length under a determined Frankie Dettori for trainer Willie Mullins.
Mullins said: “When I was speaking to Ruby [Walsh] ahead of Westerner Lady’s race at Listowel, I asked him had he a minute to talk and discuss what tactics we should use on Wicklow Brave.
“Ruby had ridden him in his last piece of work and he said that he thought we should make the running with him. He was a horse that we were holding up all of his life, and when he came into his races looking like he was going to win, he wouldn’t produce what we asked of him.
“Today we said let’s make it and see what happens and Frankie was fantastic as he always is.”
Paddy Power cut Wicklow Brave to 20-1 (from 33) for the Melbourne Cup, while Ladbrokes go 16-1 (from 25) for the feature handicap down under and 8-1 for the Ascot Long Distance Cup.
How it panned out
Wicklow Brave, winner of the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last year, quickened up on the approach to the straight and soon had the measure of Trip To Paris and Silwana – with Order Of St George making headway under a ride between the retreating pair.
It appeared with two furlongs to run Order Of St George may be making heavy weather of justifying prohibitive odds, but as the front two went by the furlong pole, it soon became apparent Wicklow Brave was not for passing.
Also at the Curragh on Sunday . . .
Report: Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes (Group 2), 5f, 3yo+
GER LYONS’ Ardhoomey gained a first success in Group company with a narrow victory over Washington Dc in the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh.
The four-year-old son of Dark Angel found plenty for pressure in the final furlong under Colin Keane to deny the fast-finishing Washington Dc.
Robert Cowell’s mare Iffranesia posted a career-best performance to finish a fine third.
The British-trained pair of Take Cover and Spirit Quartz looked to have the race between them with just over a furlong to run but the sprint contest very much suited the late closers – although one of those held up for a late run, Sole Power, noticeably suffered little luck in running.
‘I didn’t want to run that horse’
Lyons said: “Would you believe, I didn’t want to run that horse, with the ground and everything. Because of his issues he wants the top of the ground.
“We took the view that rather than keep doing the same thing, we would put the tongue tie on him and see would it help him. I have been saying since we introduced him that he was a stakes level horse, but I didn’t say he was a Group 2 horse.”
The trainer had no short-term plans to offer, but seemed in little doubt about Ardhoomey’s long-term future.
“He’s just a pleasure to train and hopefully next year we will see him in the bigger sprints in England on fast ground. The dream is still alive,” he said.