/ Racing

East India wins on debut at the Curragh

Updated: Saturday, 19 Jul 2014 19:46 | Comments

East India wins on debut at the Curragh

East India produced a telling turn of foot to make a winning debut for Aidan O'Brien in the Darley European Breeders Fund Maiden at the Curragh.

The seven-furlong contest has been a breeding ground of champions in recent seasons, with Derby hero Australia successful last year for the Ballydoyle team.

Other previous winners include Jim Bolger-trained pair Teofilo and New Approach, while Sea The Stars suffered the only defeat of his career when fourth on his racecourse introduction in 2008.

With stable companion St Patrick's Day all the rage as the 4-6 favourite after an encouraging debut second at Naas, East India was an 11-2 shot in the hands of Seamie Heffernan.

I Will Excel attempted to make the most of experience edge, drawing the sting out of his rivals halfway up the straight, but he was mowed down late by both East India and Mick Halford's newcomer Portage.

The latter was arguably finishing the stronger of the two, but East India passed the post a neck to the good, with I Will Excel running a fine race in third.

St Patrick's Day was unable to pick up and faded out of contention disappointingly.

O'Brien said: "I'm delighted. He was working like a nice horse and was just ready to start.

"Seamie took his time on him and relaxed him in the first half of the race. The idea was to give him a nice education and see what happens. He picked up really well.

"He's a very well-bred horse and we'll look for a winner's race or a Listed race now. He's a horse who'll get further than seven furlongs.

"We'll see what comes up, but he wouldn't have any bother stepping up, I would say."

RaceBets make East India a 25-1 chance for next year's Investec Derby.

O'Brien doubled up as Dick Whittington edged out old rival Toscanini in a thrilling climax to the Jebel Ali Racecourse & Stables Anglesey Stakes.

Mick Halford's Toscanini finished narrowly ahead of Dick Whittington when the pair finished second and third respectively behind Richard Pankhurst in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the pair were 2-1 joint-favourites for the rematch.

Toscanini was in the firing line from flag-fall, with Joseph O'Brien waiting until the final furlong before unleashing Dick Whittington.

Toscanini stuck to his guns admirably against the rail, but the Ballydoyle runner wore him down to take the Group Three prize by half a length.

Rapid Applause came through to finish third, with Queen Mary Stakes third Newsletter a disappointing last of five runners.

O'Brien snr said: "He's a fast horse. Five or six furlongs looks his trip. I think it would be tight to get a mile with him.

"I'm delighted and we'll look at something like the Phoenix Stakes with him."

Ansgar cut out virtually every yard of the running in the hands of Pat Smullen to land the Group Three Michael Murphy Home Furnishings Minstrel Stakes.

Sabrina Harty's 8-1 shot was fast out of the stalls in the seven-furlong contest and Smullen was happy to play the role of pacemaker.

O'Brien's 6-4 favourite Darwin, turning out just six days after winning at Fairyhouse, loomed up ominously, but was unable to reel in Ansgar who passed the post a length to the good.

The hard-luck story of the race was that of Eastern Rules, who found himself trapped behind a wall of horses before flying home against the far rail to finish third.

Harty said: "That was fantastic and the horse really deserves it.

"He's entered in the Group Three at Leopardstown on August 14 (Desmond Stakes) and that's his target."

A tremendous afternoon for the Harty team was completed by Breathe Easy (7-2) and Rory Cleary in the Kilsaran 50th Anniversary Handicap.

Harty said: "He has serious ability, but is so nervous and fragile. Rory gave him a great ride and got him settled early."

Hi Emperor lunged late to chin Akasaka in the Marker Hotel Handicap for David Marnane and Fran Berry, with the Irish Cambridgeshire mentioned as a potential target for the 6-1 winner.

Shanooan (14-1) bounced back to form with a gutsy display in the O'Briens Wines EBF Fillies Handicap, to give George Ken junior a significant first winner since taking over the training licence from his father.

Halford had some compensation for Toscanini's defeat when Sea The Lion (2-1) got up in the shadow of the post under Shane Foley to deny No Wunder in the concluding Irish Field Maiden.

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Powered by NewsWhip