Racing: Teofilo topples Emperor to head Guineas betting

Mass was abruptly cancelled in a Mayo village yesterday when the priest got hold of a ticket to see the county's Gaelic footballers seek their first All-Ireland Championship in half a century. That was his story, anyhow, but it would have taken a man of unworldly resolve to drive past the Curragh on the sunny afternoon when Teofilo and Holy Roman Emperor squared up for the right to be called the best young colt in Ireland.

It is commonplace in racing for such showdowns to raise more questions than they answer, but the Laing O'Rourke National Stakes was settled with pleasing clarity. Teofilo won decisively, the pair clear, and is transparently qualified to maintain the recent litany of champions to have won this race - among them George Washington, Dubawi, Refuse To Bend, Hawk Wing, Sinndar and King Of Kings.

Having only scrambled home from another Ballydoyle colt on his last visit here, Teofilo was this time escorted by a pacemaker. A level pace ensued, Teofilo bounding along in his slipstream, while Kieren Fallon settled Holy Roman Emperor on his heels.

The stage was set, both colts ideally placed to play to their strengths. The hefty, unyielding galloper took command two furlongs out under Kevin Manning, and Fallon launched his glitzy little fireball after him. Entering a seventh furlong for the first time, however, it was already apparent that Holy Roman Emperor would not be able to cut down Teofilo with his usual conceited air.

Instead he was already probing for fresh reserves, and it soon became obvious that he lacked stamina to mount any kind of challenge, Teofilo maintaining an advantage of a length and a quarter to the line. "He's learning all the time," Manning observed. "The last couple of races were a bit messy but he was very professional off an even pace today. He was always on top, and going away at the line."

John Magnier was quick to congratulate Jim Bolger - the trainer and indeed breeder of Teofilio - and little wonder. If he was disappointed to see his own colt beaten, he could console himself that Coolmore Stud has opened up another goldmine in Galileo, the young sire of Teofilio.

"If he wants to be the next Triple Crown horse I'm not going to stand in his way!" Bolger exclaimed. "Judging by the way Galileo got three or four of them home in the St Leger, we'd be expecting Teofilio to get a mile and a half anyway. But the Guineas will be his priority."

Bolger has been immoderate throughout in his praise of this horse, satisfied that he is superior even to St Jovite, who lost his unbeaten record in this same race in 1991, but ran away with the Irish Derby and King George the following summer. "He's the best I've had - after that, I don't know," he reiterated. "I expect him to go all the way."

Bolger will now take him abroad for the first time, either to Longchamp for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère or to Newmarket for the Dewhurst Stakes. What makes Teofilo such a rousing prospect is that he is entitled, by every measure, to make an even better three-year-old. As Manning put it: "There's plenty more horse there." He is 13-2 favourite from 14-1 with the sponsor for the Stan James 2,000 Guineas.

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Holy Roman Emperor, was magnanimous when asked if he had any excuses. "Afraid not," he said. "The winner's very special - a big, rangy horse, but with strength and a good step on him. You wouldn't mind dropping our horse back, even to five furlongs, but I definitely would not take anything away from the winner."

He had been foiled with another odds-on favourite the previous day when Kastoria pounced on Yeats in the Irish St Leger, and plans to go for the Melbourne Cup are now in abeyance. "Two and a half miles at Ascot in high summer was Yeats's Derby this year and it may be that he wants a little break," O'Brien said. "We'll know more in a few days."

And perhaps he would be happy enough to trade both the prizes that eluded him for success in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. George Washington is 6-4 favourite with Ladbrokes, from Librettist on 3-1. Court Masterpiece is 5-1 and Araafa 6-1.

O'Brien made do with the two Listed races on yesterday's card, Ivan Denisovich being indebted to a ride of vintage bravura from Fallon, and Brave Tin Soldier lining himself up for a possible crack at the Middle Park Stakes. Things could have been worse, then. It is not as if O'Brien supports Mayo.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Munaddam (Folkestone 4.00)

NB: Cross The Line (Kempton 4.50)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game