Sinndar reigns again while rivals founder

Three immense reputations galloped to post for the Irish Derby here yesterday, and the thousands packed into the grandstands on the Curragh knew that at least two would return tarnished. What few them could have imagined was how thorough - and in one case, physical - the subjugation would be, or how easily Sinndar, the Derby winner, would steal all their glory, and then hoist it on to his broad bay back.

Three immense reputations galloped to post for the Irish Derby here yesterday, and the thousands packed into the grandstands on the Curragh knew that at least two would return tarnished. What few them could have imagined was how thorough - and in one case, physical - the subjugation would be, or how easily Sinndar, the Derby winner, would steal all their glory, and then hoist it on to his broad bay back.

Nine lengths is a remarkable winning distance in a Grade E maiden at Yarmouth. In one of the most cherished events of the Flat season, it is simply extraordinary, but that is what separated Sinndar from Glyndebourne and Ciro after 12 demanding furlongs on ground softened by heavy showers.

Holding Court, the French Derby winner, his principal rival in the betting and a horse who, in theory, should have enjoyed the going, finished sixth, but he at least may get a chance to redeem himself. King's Best, the 2,000 Guineas winner, did not finish at all, pulled up by Pat Eddery with half the race still to run. The indications, prior to overnight x-ray examination, are that he has fractured his off-fore cannon bone or fetlock, and that his racing career is probably over.

The punters on the terraces were calling for their hero - who at Epsom had been the first Irish-trained Derby winner for almost 20 years - with a furlong still to run. Sinndar was their 11-10 favourite yesterday, and they knew their money was safe. Yet there had been anxious moments, first when Sinndar - like all three principals - took his time to get into the stalls, and then looked to be going only moderately well as the field headed into the home turn. A couple of cracks from Johnny Murtagh's whip, though, were enough to wake him up, and once Sinndar had cruised up to the pacemakers, the race was effectively over.

An hour earlier, Montjeu, who won both the Irish Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last season, had done something similar - albeit to a weaker field - in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. A meeting between the champions of two generations may be delayed until October, since Sinndar is expected to take a break until a prep race for the Arc in September, while Montjeu heads to Ascot for the King George later this month. If and when they do enter the same set of stalls, the whole racing world will stop for 150 seconds. Coral make Montjeu the 5-2 favourite for the Longchamp race on 1 October, with Sinndar on 9-2.

But whatever else he may achieve, Sinndar will eventually retire to one of the Aga Khan's studs with one of the great Classic performances on his cv. He will also be one of the sport's biggest earners, having picked up a $1m bonus from Budweiser, the race's sponsors, for completing the Derby double, in addition to prize-money yesterday of almost IR£500,000. The sponsors are unlikely to be saved for long by their cunning ruse of making the cheque out to Sinndar himself - although every hay and sugar lump salesman in Ireland will probably be beating a path to his stable door this morning.

For John Oxx, who like his father before him trains less than two miles from the Curragh, yesterday's victory was a moment of great personal and professional satisfaction. "I've grown up here, my father was a trainer and I've always dreamed of winning the Irish Derby," he said.

"I remember in 1962, just before my 12th birthday, my father ran the 2,000 Guineas winner and he was beaten a whisker. He always hoped to win the race but he never did. Now we've come back and done it, it feels like the most significant thing we could do."

As for the race, Oxx felt that "it developed pretty much as expected. Holding Court didn't really run his race, and the plan was to follow him, so when he dropped out we were a bit further back than we'd expected. But when I saw the pacemakers were the ones in front, I knew we'd pick them up easily enough. He's a terrific horse and he's probably improved again."

Holding Court's trainer, Michael Jarvis, whose Alrassaam won the later Group Two race, said: "Holding Court likes his own way and being taken on by the pacemakers did not suit. We will look towards an autumn campaign and the St Leger."

Sinndar now goes into his midsummer break as the undisputed leader of his generation. When he returns it will be to face his elders, horses like Montjeu and, perhaps, Dubai Millennium. While National Hunt racing always works towards its climax in March, the good thing about the Flat season is that it keeps getting better.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back