Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes
|Group 1, Curragh 16:05
2yo, 7f, Class 1
1 Henry Longfellow 9/10F
2 Islandsinthestream 12/1
3 Bucanero Fuerte Evs
4 ran NR: City Of Troy, Givemethebeatboys
Distances: 5l, 7½l, 22l Time: 1m 27.54s (slow by 4.54s)
City Of Troy's late defection allows Henry Longfellow to bring up Aidan O'Brien's 4,000th winner in the @Goffs1866 Vincent O'Brien National Stakes @curraghrace pic.twitter.com/82DT8z8sVL https://t.co/fncGmZqOgZ via @RacingBetter— RacingBetter (@RacingBetter) September 10, 2023
Henry Longfellow brushed aside his rivals to give trainer Aidan O’Brien his 4,000th career winner with an imperious display.
The master of Ballydoyle was on the brink of the milestone following a fantastic four-timer on the opening day of the Irish Champions Festival, but was made to wait until the two-year-old showpiece on day two of the showpiece weekend to reach the landmark figure.
The race had looked like being a surprise showdown between Henry Longfellow and stablemate City Of Troy – who not only dominated the ante-post lists for this Group One event, but also next year’s Classics.
However, Henry Longfellow is also a talented operator in his own right and after the late defection of City Of Troy on account of the ground, Ryan Moore wasted little time switching mounts as the son of Dubawi demonstrated his class with a bloodless demolition.
As the field approached the two-furlong pole, Kevin Stott was already asking the Phoenix Stakes winner for maximum effort, whereas Moore and his high-class partner were only just warming up and with Bucanero Fuerte soon left in his wake, Henry Longfellow was allowed to give a glimpse of what is lurking under the bonnet as he sailed home to a five-length success over a running-on Islandsinthestream.
QuinnBet and Betfair make the winner 7-2 from 5s for next year’s 2000 Guineas, with both also going 6-1 from 8s for the Derby.
“The pedigree of this horse is second to none. She was the best mare we ever trained (Minding) and Dubawi was the best out-cross that she could go to,” O’Brien said.
“He travels and he quickens and that is very difficult for other horses to handle.
“We knew this horse had run a couple of weeks ago and his dam handled the ground no problem. Everyone has been very happy with him and he looks a very special horse.
“His dam won over a mile, a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half.”
Moore added: “He is a very impressive horse and obviously he is out of Minding and she was a very special filly.
“This fellow is getting better, the pace was strong and I didn’t want to let Bucanero Fuerte off – I thought he was very impressive.
“He can be a bit idle, but he is a very good horse.”
Of City Of Troy’s late withdrawal, O’Brien said: “City Of Troy hadn’t run for a good while and was going to improve from the run.
“Sometimes in that ground they can have a hard time. He would die on his feet for you today and we didn’t want to do that to him once the ground turned.
“I had said to the lads that we wouldn’t run City Of Troy on soft ground. We took a chance in Newmarket and got away with it. He’s too beautiful a mover. Ryan was adamant that it was closer to soft than good to yielding.
“He’ll look at the Dewhurst now, and if the ground is right that’s where he’ll be.”
Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (Group 1)
€400,000 guaranteed, 2yo only, 7f
Going: Good to Yielding
POS. (DRAW) DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 (6) Henry Longfellow 2 9-5 A P O'Brien Seamie Heffernan 9/10F
2 (5) 5 Islandsinthestream 2 9-5 Joseph Patrick O'Brien Declan McDonogh 12/1
3 (3) 7½ Bucanero Fuerte 2 9-5 Adrian Murray Kevin Stott Evs
4 (4) 22 Cuban Thunder 2 9-5 Adrian Murray Gary Halpin 66/1
NR 2 (1) City Of Troy 2 9-5 A P O'Brien NON RUNNER
NR 4 (2) Givemethebeatboys 2 9-5 Mrs John Harrington NON RUNNER