Racing: Yeats follows O'Brien route to Derby

The pegs were pulled out of the circus racing here yesterday and the caravans now move on to York this week and Goodwood the next as attempts to source the winner of the Derby on 5 June continue. The ringmaster is already in place.

Yeats may not have been the most authoritative winner of the Derby Trial at Leopardstown yesterday, but his breeding, connections and the path the colt has taken suggest the Blue Riband garland may already be destined for his neck. This strip of racing land in Dublin 18 has become the aisle to the Epsom throne in recent years.

Sinndar, Galileo and High Chaparral have all used yesterday's Group Two race as a stairway to heaven and Alamshar was not the most devastating of trend-breakers 12 months ago as he went on the be third in the Derby and later collected the Irish equivalent.

Yeats' victory cleared the fuzz from the Ballydoyle picture. The previous weekend had been a wretched passage for the Tipperary yard, with the unaccountable defeats of One Cool Cat, Necklace and Brian Boru.

The initial clarity was provided by Baraka, who scooped the Lingfield Oaks Trial on Saturday. Her six-length victory meant a contraction in Epsom price to around 12-1, and there was movement also for her better-regarded stablemate All Too Beautiful, Galileo's sister.

Then came Yeats. Aidan O'Brien's pride is no glory of a horse physically and he looked particularly plebeian yesterday in the paddock, a rash spotted across his neck and hindquarters. He was, nevertheless, a relaxed walker, his two, white- stockinged feet behind moving to a most sombre beat.

The race tactics were beyond convolution. Yeats led from the outset with Barati, Medicinal and Relaxed Gesture in Indian file behind. He flowed smoothly, a slight choppiness to his stride. The decisive manoeuvre arrived on the turn in, when Jamie Spencer depressed the accelerator. After that it became a fruitless game of catch-up.

Relaxed Gesture was ultimately the nearest courtier, a length and a half adrift at the line. Dermot Weld's charge formed some sort of point of reference. He was a neck second to the 2,000 Guineas third Azamour in the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh last October.

So while what Yeats has achieved in pure form terms is arguable, there must also be the acceptance that he's dealing swiftly with anything brought before him. Neither is there contentious debate about O'Brien's Blue Riband capability. He is now shooting for his third Derby in four years.

Tradition dictates that there are several talking horses from Ballydoyle each season and one who is supposedly multi-lingual. This is the destiny for Yeats. The son of Sadler's Wells escaped both the persistent light drizzle which visited Leopardstown for most of yesterday and possible ignominy. He still had energy to spare at the end.

"He kicked Dermot's horse on the way back, would you believe?'' O'Brien said. "That's how much he had left. Normally a horse doesn't give a kick and a buck against another horse after a race. It's unusual. He was only playing along there.

"He's a lovely, uncomplicated horse. The horses that you let run in races and don't mind what happens are few and far between. He can jump off and do his own thing or he would love getting a lead. He's very straightforward. We wanted to come away with a happy horse, one we could get ready for Epsom. So what more could you ask for? You'd have to be delighted. He just kept going away. He just lobbed out and Jamie didn't touch him at all. He's a very free horse. He gallops, he stays, he's tough and he's genuine. You couldn't say he lacked quality. Looking at the horse, I would imagine he's going to improve the whole time.'' Let the challengers line up.

* The Horse Racing Channel intends to launch a free-to-air service "within the next couple of weeks," a spokesman said yesterday. It will compete with the revamped At The Races, which is expected to start next month.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Hardware Engineer - SW London - £35,000 plus benefits and c

£28000 - £35000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Hardware Engineer...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Sales Account Manager - OTE £30,000

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Company is looking for B2B...

Recruitment Genius: IT Production Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in Multi-Channel Di...

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Web Developer / Software Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Engineer is required...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor