Found still in Epsom Derby mix

Found remains in contention for the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday week following her narrow defeat in Sunday’s Irish 1,000 Guineas.

The last filly to run in the mile and-a-half Classic was Cape Verdi, who finished ninth in 1998, with Nobiliary the latest to be placed when second to Grundy in 1975.

Six fillies have won the Derby, although the latest was 99 years ago when Fifinella landed a wartime substitute Derby at Newmarket.

With a number of Aidan O’Brien’s Derby prospects falling by the wayside, the Coolmore team are not ruling out letting Found take on the boys after going down by half a length to Pleascach at the Curragh.

Coolmore representative Kevin Buckley said at Tuesday’s Breakfast With The Stars morning at Epsom: “The plan is to come to Epsom, probably for the Oaks but possibly for the Derby.

“’We have a good representation in the Oaks with Diamondsandrubies and Together Forever, so we have to look at the Derby for Found.”

Other possible Derby contenders for the master of Ballydoyle include Chester Vase winner Hans Holbein, but it appears increasingly likely dual Guineas winner Gleneagles will not be on the team.

“I was taken by Hans Holbein’s performance at Chester. He’s a big price,” said Buckley.

“Aidan maintains he (Gleneagles) is a specialist miler. Being realistic, the St James’s Palace (at Royal Ascot) is his likely target.

“Giovanni Canaletto is still being trained with the Derby in mind, but the race may come too soon.”

Meanwhile, enterprisingly ridden by Brian Hayers, Rohan’s Pride captured the €30,000 McHale Mayo National in Ballinrobe last night, providing Robert Honner, who trains just five horses at Clongiffen Stud in County Meath, with his biggest success.

Always close to the pace and jumping with enthusiasm, the former hunter-chaser stayed on strongly in the closing stages to beat Leavethelighton by a length and three-quarters with Seafood in third.

A beaming Honner admitted: “This is some excitement. It’s great for everyone – my father (Winston) owns him and we have his sire Pushkin at home.”

Referring to the nine-year-old’s defeat, when favourite, at the Punchestown Festival last time, he quipped: “This makes up for not winning the Bishopscourt Cup,” before explaining “I knew he was in good old form. He had a nice weight and we decided to have a crack at it, although we knew he was up against it. He jumps well and I told Brian to be positive on him and he gave the horse a great spin. He likes the good ground, so we’ll keep going with him for the summer.”

On a short holiday in France, Jessica Harrington missed seeing Phantom Prince and exciting chasing debutant Rock The World double-up for Robbie Power.

Sent to the front at the second last, Phantom Prince kept the unlucky Marchese Marconi and Argentino at bay in the €30,000 McHale Coranna Handicap Hurdle, to the delight of Power, who explained: “He’s a much better horse on better ground and came back to form on it in Limerick the last day. All that was missing in Limerick were the cheekpeiecs and they made a difference today – they really sharpened him up.”

Rock The World produced the most impressive performance of the night, making all for an easy, eighteen-lengths victory over Abbey Lane in a grief-filled beginners chase.

Michael Buckley’s seven-year-old produced an impeccable display of jumping and proved himself an exciting chasing recruit, his task helped by the second fence exit of market rival A Sizing Netwprk, which continued riderless, causing chaos at the third fence and threatening the winner for most of the journey.

Robbie Power enthused: “I was looking forward to this for a long time. The way he jumped hurdles, I knew he’d be a brilliant chaser. He’s been foot-perfect since he started schooling and was again today. He was a little bit high over the first couple, but that’s no harm. When it mattered, he was good and accurate over the last two. He got a great education today and it was a perfect start for him. He’s definitely a horse to look forward to.”

The Gatechecker, trained for J P McManus by Michael Hourigan, opened his hurdling account, at the third attempt, when justifying even-money favouritism in the McHale Fusion Vario Maiden Hurdle.

But the Classic Cliché gelding only got home by a short-head from market-rival Too Many Notes, to which he was conceding 22lb., after winning rider Mark Walsh had his whip knocked out of his hand by rival Ricky Doyle early on the run-in.

“I told him not to be in front too soon,” quipped trainer Hourigan before adding: “He should get a bit further and we might try him in a handicap. He looks a chaser, but he won’t jump fences for a while yet.”

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