/ Racing

Ballydoyle's Flying The Flag takes feature event on Day 1 of Curragh Derby Festival

Updated: Friday, 28 Jun 2013 21:34 | Comments

Seamie Heffernan was aboard Flying The Flag
Seamie Heffernan was aboard Flying The Flag

Flying The Flag landed the big race at the Curragh for trainer Aidan O'Brien on the eve of Ruler Of The World's bid for glory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

The well-backed 2-1 shot tracked Aloof in the four-runner eFlow 'You First' International Stakes (Group Three) before forging ahead just past the furlong pole to win by four lengths in the hands of Seamie Heffernan.

It wasn't all roses for the Ballydoyle team, however, as 2012 St James's Palace Stakes winner Most Improved, making his debut for the yard, was unable to raise a challenge in third.

O'Brien's The Vatican (5-2), third to Flying The Flag on his only previous run last year, kept going strongly from the front to take the eFlow 'Hassle Free' Maiden by a length and three-quarters under the trainer's son Joseph.

Marc Monaghan opened his account for the season in the Group Three Noblesse Stakes at Cork recently and followed up by landing another nice prize in the eFlow Rewardcard Apprentice Derby.

The young rider settled the John Oxx-trained Mourani (4-1) just behind the pacesetters and burst into the lead near the top of the straight, after which nothing could get close as he held King Of The Romans comfortably by a length and three-quarters.

Yulong Baoju didn't have the best of passages when a beaten favourite last time and having been dropped 3lb, she made amends in the Irish National Stud Gathering Handicap.

Powerful Wind showed loads of speed out in the centre of the track and Johnny Murtagh followed him on the Eddie Lynam-trained 7-2 shot before striking inside the final furlong to beat Speed Dream by a length.

Ger Lyons' 6-4 favourite Dr Funkenstein stepped up on his promising debut third at Gowran in the 100 To 102 Today FM Maiden, collaring the frustrating One True Love well inside the final furlong to win by a length and three-quarters under Gary Carroll.

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