King rules for O’Brien and Murtagh

KING Of Rome put himself in line for the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes after showing his class with an emphatic victory in the Royal Whip Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien believes the three-year-old is now fulfilling his potential though the colt has been highly-tried and only won his first Group race last month.

The 9-10 favourite was Johnny Murtagh’s choice from three O’Brien runners and his faith was justified as the son of Montjeu strode to a comfortable win.

Taking over from Moiqen inside the last furlong and a half, King Of Rome bounded away to win by three and a half lengths from Alarazi, with Zulu Chief third.

O’Brien said: “We always thought a lot of this horse and he’s coming to himself now.

“He’s a classy horse. A mile and two (furlongs) suits him fine at the moment. He could run back here in the Champion Stakes.”

Murtagh was completing a Group Two double having partnered Again (9-2) to land the Ballygallon Stud Debutante Stakes.

David Wachman’s filly won cosily by three lengths from Oui Say Oui to earn a 20-1 quote for the 1000 Guineas with VC Bet. Cashmans go 33-1 for both the Guineas and the Oaks.

The big disappointment of the race was the 7-4 favourite Cuis Ghaire, who was eased close home by Kevin Manning after staying towards the far side of the track. She finished next to last.

VC Bet took Cuis Ghaire out of the Guineas betting, while Paddy Power pushed her out to 12-1 – the same price they go about the winner.

Wachman said: “She’s in all the big fillies’ races. We’ll see how she comes out of this before we firm up plans.

“She’s a nice filly who handles that ground well and she’s been coming forward well since her debut at Roscommon.”

Major races beckon for Carribean Sunset (5-2) after she returned to winning ways in the Desmond Stakes.

Dermot Weld’s filly, who had a difficult journey to America when fourth on her previous start, showed no ill-effects as she stormed home.

Pat Smullen brought her from the last of the five runners just before the turn to hit the front and she went on to score by four and a half lengths from British raider Blythe Knight.

“She’s a very adaptable filly. She was unlucky not to win the Irish Guineas and I’m pleased to win another Group race with her,” said Weld.

“She ran an excellent race in America despite having a lot of travel problems. The plane broke down in France so she had to go via Amsterdam and obviously that didn’t help her.

“It’ll be the Matron Stakes next and the Breeders’ Cup is the long-term target.”

Smullen was completing a double having earlier won the womenmeanbusiness.com Handicap on Andrew Kinsella’s Impossible Dream, the 100-30 favourite.

John Oxx and Mick Kinane also enjoyed a 32-1 brace with promising two-year-olds Sea The Stars and Tanoura.

Sea The Stars, a half-brother to 2001 Derby hero Galileo, staked an early claim for Epsom honours with victory in the Korean Racing Authority EBF (C&G) Maiden.

The youngster is 33-1 from 50-1 for next year’s Epsom Classic with VC Bet and 25-1 with Paddy Power after beating Dark Humour by two and a half lengths. Cashmans go 20-1.

“He’s a lovely big horse but he’s not the finished article physically. He’s in the National Stakes and he’s a also a possible for the Beresford. He’s promising but there’s a long way to go,” said Oxx.”

Tanoura (10-1) came from the clouds to make a winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (Fillies) Maiden.

The Aga Khan’s charge was last in the early stages and was still a long off the leaders at the furlong pole but she finished to such effect that she got up on the line to pip Jakarta Jazz with Beyond Our Reach third in a finish of short heads.

“We’ve always thought she was a nice filly, but I didn’t fancy her in the ground,” said the Currabeg trainer.

“She’s in the Moyglare, but she’s not a big filly and I won’t run her too often this year.”

Mores Wells (5-1) landed back-to-back victories in the Ballyroan Stakes when slamming O’Brien’s Washington Irving by three and a half lengths.

He was third in the Irish Field St Leger last September and a repeat bid for the Curragh Classic is on the cards.

“He ran good race in the Irish St Leger last year and he’ll go there next,” said trainer Kevin Prendergast.

“He handles these conditions but he’s better on good ground. He’s in the Melbourne Cup but we’ll see how he gets on in his next race first.”

Snaefell (3-1) relished the testing conditions to take the spoils in a bunch finish to the Patrick P. O’Leary Memorial Phoenix Sprint Stakes.

Michael Halford’s grey, ridden by Rory Cleary, came through strongly in the closing stages to edge out 11-8 favourite Georgebernardshaw by a head.

Halford said: “He’s a genuine Group Three horse in these conditions and he’ll probably go next for the Flying Five.”

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