Racing: Commander proves Curragh overlord: Pat Eddery hails the dual-Derby winner as among the best he has ridden while the French falter again

EXTRAVAGANT billing proved justified here yesterday as Commander In Chief, the Derby winner at Epsom, beat his French counterpart, Hernando, in the Irish equivalent.

Racing's trumpeted showdowns usually provide the potency of a water-pistol fight, but here was a full-bore contest as Commander In Chief bravely choked the speed out of his rival in a courageous display down The Curragh's straight.

The statistics suggested it would be this way. While Hernando joined the four previous French-trained Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) winners to fail here, Commander In Chief became the 12th horse to complete the Epsom-Curragh double.

The pattern of the race was similarly predictable, and as Pat Eddery swung along on Commander In Chief he was as sure as a holidaymaker towing his caravan that another vehicle was in his tracks. 'I knew Cash (Asmussen, Hernando's rider) would be following me all the way,' the Irishman said.

Further ahead though was Regency, like the winner the property of Khalid Abdullah. Criquette Head's colt was said to be running on his merits, but whatever the motive for participation, the searing pace he made had much influence.

Turning into the straight, Eddery, employing full vigour, had taken over, while Asmussen followed him through menacingly, his posture as motionless as a Palace guard's.

But when Hernando's challenge came, it was soon obvious that his power of acceleration had been strangled, and the nearest he got to Commander In Chief was the three-quarters of a length that separated these two great beasts at the finish.

'I was cruising two furlongs out but he met a better horse on the day, he took on a tiger,' Asmussen said. 'Hernando is a star, the first two are both stars, and I guess we will have to take him on one more time in the fall.

'It was race No 6 for him this season and we will have a refresher now. Then I'm sure we'll be back with a good attitude.'

Eddery's attitude to his mounts is often flattering, but there was little to dispute when he assessed the merit of Commander In Chief. 'I would say he is now a top horse and I would have to compare him with all the good ones I've ridden over the years,' he said.

'In all his races he has been very tough and today he just galloped on and took the speed off the other horse.'

Henry Cecil, Commander In Chief's trainer, confirmed the battle plans. 'The idea was to sap Hernando's speed a bit,' he said.

Cecil, though cannot have foreseen the victory celebrations. The decorum of Royal Ascot seemed from another world as The Curragh's clientele swarmed all over the trainer, shaking his hand, extracting autographs and shouldering up to him for impromptu snapshots.

The likelihood is that Commander In Chief will next be before the lenses in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot next month, while the distant target is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

However, the Warren Place system of allowing the horses to have the casting vote on their programmes will not be abandoned. 'It will be a question of how the horse is before the King George,' the trainer said. 'We'll go with the horse and let him decide.'

It may even be that Commander In Chief can get better. Although this was the unbeaten colt's fifth run of the season he is still a greenhorn having not competed as a two-year-old.

'He beat what we think is a very good horse today,' Cecil said. 'But he is a late maturing sort and we like to think the best is yet to come.'

For Khalid Abdullah, who has now won his first Irish Classic, Commander In Chief is an uncommon gift both as a runner and prospective sire. 'He's a beautifully bred horse and he will make a fantastic stallion,' Cecil said.

Yesterday, at The Curragh, as he joined the ranks of dual Derby winners such as Nijinsky, Shergar and Generous, Commander In Chief established himself as a fantastic racehorse.

THE CURRAGH

4.00: (1m 4f Budweiser Irish Derby, 3yo)

1. COMMANDER IN CHIEF bay or brown colt Dancing Brave - Slightly Dangerous

Pat Eddery 4-7 fav

2. Hernando C Asmussen 9-4

3. Foresee J P Murtagh 25-1

Also ran: 10-1 Regency (4th), Massyar (5th), 25-1 Desert Team, Shrewd Idea (6th), 100-1 Lord Bentley, Via Parigi, 150-1 Porterstown Boy, 250-1 Sirsan.

11 ran. 3/4 , 3, 4, 2, hd. (Trained by H Cecil, at Newmarket, for K Abdullah). Tote: pounds 2.30; pounds 1.30, pounds 1.70, pounds 4.10. DF: pounds 1.90. CSF: pounds 2.61.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

SAP BW BO

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

HSE Manger - Solar

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: HSE Mana...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried