Recital strikes winning chord

THE Aidan O’Brien-trained Recital is a best-priced 7/1 shot for the Investec Derby at Epsom following a less than convincing victory over stable companions Memphis Tennessee and Regent Street in the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown yesterday.

With former Ballydoyle stable jockey Kieren Fallon in the saddle, the 1/2 favourite quickened past pacemaking stable-companion Regent Street passing the two-furlong pole and looked set to stretch clear of his six rivals.

But the Montjeu edged left and appeared to repeatedly hang towards the inside rail throughout the last furlong and a half before beating Memphis Tennessee by a length and a half with Regent Street third in a ‘1-2-3’ for Ballydoyle.

Bookmaker reaction was varied, with William Hill apparently over-reacting by slashing Recital to 9/2 (from 10/1). Boylesports cut him to 6/1 (from 7), Stan James to 11/2 (from 8) while Ladbrokes left him unchanged at 7/1. In contrast, Paddy Power eased him to 7/1 (from 6).

Aidan O’Brien expressed himself “delighted” by the performance, explaining, “When he gets to the front, he’s very lazy and idle. Kieren was very happy with him.”

Explaining the move to book Fallon for the ride, he explained, “The idea of Kieren riding him today was with an eye on Epsom. It’s great to be able to avail of the experience of these lads, like Kieren and Ryan (Moore).”

O’Brien added: “This horse has an awful lot of class and speed. Only for messing up St. Nicholas Abbey last year I would have thought about running him in the Guineas. Seville, which runs in the Dante on Wednesday is very different — he’s more relaxed and laid-back.”

Fallon was enthusiastic about Recital’s performance and future, stating: “I liked him. He’s a lovely colt, a typical Montjeu. He’s an easy, great-moving colt. You couldn’t ride a better mover. He travelled well and picked up quicker than I expected. But he idled in front and the headwind didn’t help him.

“Seamie set a good, strong pace and I was six lengths off him. But turning in, he began to struggle and we picked him up in two strides. With no wind, I have no doubt that he would have gone clear. He was in front too long and that’s the only part of the race that I wasn’t happy about.”

Recital was Aidan O’Brien’s seventh winner of this recognised trial in the last ten years, with High Chaparral (in 2002) the last colt to triumph at Epsom following success here.

Recital was the second leg of a Ballydoyle double on the day, initiated when Joseph O’Brien made every yard of the running on the Galileo colt Admiral Of The Red in the ten-furlong maiden.

County Carlow based Pat Fahy savoured his first Group 3 win when 33/1 shot Ballybacka Lady landed the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas trial from Sapphire Pendant and Dance Secretary.

Ridden for the first time by Fran Berry, she broke well, went straight into the lead and made all to score by a length and three-quarters, prompting Fahy, almost shocked, to admit: “She had very good form last year but I was afraid after her experience at Dundalk the last day,

“I left it to Fran and he gave her a great ride. Breaking smartly made all the difference and she won well. Fran says she’s entitled to run in the Irish 1,000 Guineas in two weeks.”

The Dermot Weld trained Famous Name, in the colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah, cruised to an effortless win in the finale the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes, recording his eight win on the Foxrock track.

Quickening into the lead two furlongs from home, she stretched clear to beat Across The Rhine by seven lengths.

Weld reiterated his feelings about the six-year-old Dansili colt: “He’s a proper horse, a joy to train. That’s his twelfth win, eight of them here, and he’s getting close to the million euro mark in win and place prizemoney.

Johnny Murtagh was seen at his tactical best on the gambled on Zerashan (6/1 to 4/1) in the Growise Handicap, making all and repelling the challenge of Rock Medley by three-quarters of a length.

Murtagh dictated the pace on the strapping, Aga Khan-bred, Gigginstown House Stud owned Azamaour colt. Winning trainer Michael Halford declared: “That was a great ride by Johnny — there’s no better jockey in front anywhere. He’ll probably go for the mile-and-a-half premier handicap at the Curragh on Guineas weekend.”

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