Delphi initiated a big-race double for Aidan O'Brien and Seamie Heffernan when making it four from four for the season with a determined display in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh.
Down the field on his only juvenile start at Tipperary, the Galileo colt made a winning return in first-time blinkers at the Curragh in June and has not looked back, following up in a Navan handicap before dominating from the front in the Nijinsky Stakes at Leopardstown.
With last year’s Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song a significant non-runner, Delphi was the 10-11 favourite for this Group Three assignment and was once again sent straight to the lead by Heffernan.
Odds-on backers would have been sweating at the sight of Master Of Reality (7-2) lunging late, but the line came just in time for Delphi, with just a short head separating the pair where it mattered. Micro Manage (5-1) was third.
Heffernan said: "You probably wouldn’t pick him out in the ring or looking at him at the start, but he doesn’t know when he’s beaten.
"Very few horses will give you 100%, but he feels like he’s giving you that. You don’t have to be the best if you give the most, and he’s one of the most genuine that I will ever ride.
"He’s gone from a mile to a mile and six, and he might just have a bit of class."
Delphi just holds on to defy a battling Master Of Reality to land the Group 3 Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial Stakes in the hands of Seamie Heffernan, for @Ballydoyle 👏 pic.twitter.com/wgANptU7HK— The Curragh Racecourse (@curraghrace) August 14, 2020
O’Brien and Heffernan were soon on the mark again as Armory (13-8F) finished with a rattle to emerge triumphant in the Irish Field Celebrating 150 Years Royal Whip Stakes.
Fourth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Tattersalls Gold Cup on his last couple of starts, Armory made the most of having his sights lowered to Group Three level.
Heffernan’s mount looked to have nowhere to go racing inside the final furlong, but once the gap came, he displayed a sizzling change of gear to get up and beat Numerian (8-1) in the dying strides.
Heffernan added: "I was doing more pulling than pushing for most of the race!
"He got me out of trouble and he was the best horse in the race."
Ger Lyons was delighted to see his speedy filly Frenetic (1-2F) get back on the winning trail in the Listed Holden Plant Rentals Curragh Stakes.
Successful on her first two career starts, the daughter of Kodiac had since finished second in the Group Two Airlie Stud Stakes and in a Listed event at Naas.
She made every yard of the running under Colin Keane at HQ, passing the post almost two lengths clear of Chief Little Hawk (4-1). Blue Cabochon (22-1) claimed third.
Lyons said: "I blame myself for her getting beaten in Naas. The best horse won on the day, but I didn't train her for that race and we ran as an afterthought, which you can’t do.
"She’s in the Ballyhane race at Naas next week. We’ll do the right thing by the filly and if she is absolutely squealing and bouncing she might turn up.
"The Flying Childers is another possibility in Doncaster, but with the way Covid is I’d like to campaign her here.
"I know she won over six in Navan, but she’s all five furlongs and is hard on herself."