Cape Blanco leads Ballydoyle clean sweep in the Irish Derby

Winner heads for rematch with Workforce at Ascot after extending O'Brien's record in Curragh Classic

As we saw at Wimbledon last week, sporting statistics have a certain fascination and at the Curragh yesterday Aidan O'Brien, one of the outstanding trainers of the modern era, added to his already bulging records portfolio. In following in the hoofprints of Dylan Thomas, Soldier Of Fortune, Frozen Fire and Fame And Glory in the Irish Derby, the chestnut colt Cape Blanco gave O'Brien an unprecedented fifth successive success in Ireland's premier Classic. And in leading home Midas Touch and Jan Vermeer, he notched a remarkable third clean sweep in the Group One race for the Ballydoyle team.

O'Brien provided half the field of 10 for his country's most valuable prize, with a purse of a shade over £1m. Such riches in firepower can lead to embarrassment for a stable jockey, but Johnny Murtagh chose the right one. Indeed, after getting up more or less unscathed after a ghastly looking fall in the afternoon's opening race, when his mount Petronius Maximus slipped at full gallop and crashed to the ground, the rider might have decided there and then his luck was in.

And Cape Blanco responded nobly to his judgement and iron man tendencies. Putting an unaccountably bad run in the Prix du Jockey-Club three weeks previously right behind him, the son of Galileo assuaged doubts not only about his talent – which he had overtly demonstrated when trouncing subsequent Epsom Derby winner Workforce at York – but also his stamina.

The Co Tipperary runners dominated yesterday's race; the pacemaker Bright Horizon kept up the true gallop so beloved by O'Brien long enough to tow At First Sight, Midas Touch and Cape Blanco into the straight in that order, with the 3-1 market leader Monterosso tracking the quartet.

Midas Touch, with Colm O'Donoghue in the saddle, went for home early in the straight, with Murtagh starting to wind up the 7-2 second favourite in determined pursuit. And, in going eyeball to eyeball with his rival, a doughty stayer and now St Leger favourite, through the last two furlongs, and then winning that battle by an ultimately cosy half-length, Cape Blanco showed himself a true son of his sire, rather than his "uncle", the sprinter Paris House. And now, an intriguing rematch with Workforce, over yesterday's mile and a half in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot next month, beckons.

"The last day in France was the only blip on his card," said O'Brien, "and we just couldn't understand it. Maybe it was the travel; it was his first time away. But something upset him and he wasn't the horse he knew. But he's left that behind today and showed all the courage and class we know he has. And it was always in our mind that if everything did go well today, we'd be looking at the King George."

The bookmakers still prefer Workforce, who since Epsom has been looking the part with Sir Michael Stoute's string on the Newmarket gallops; in a match bet between the pair William Hill have the runaway Derby hero 4-9 and yesterday's winner 13-8.

Cape Blanco was O'Brien's eighth Irish Derby winner in all, the first three being Desert King, Galileo and High Chaparral, and Murtagh's fourth, after Sinndar and Alamshar for John Oxx, and Fame And Glory last year. O'Brien's previous 1-2-3 finishes came courtesy of High Chaparral, Sholokov and Ballingarry in 2002, and Soldier Of Fortune, Alexander Of Hales and Eagle Mountain three years ago. Yesterday, Jan Vermeer came from off the pace to make his challenge, but was never nearer than his length and a half third. Mark Johnson-trained Monterosso, the first of the principals under pressure, finished a one-paced fourth a further length adrift.

Murtagh deflected credit for his victory towards the trainer. "It was a tough choice," he said, "and Aidan suggested Cape Blanco was the one. And the horse travelled very sweetly the whole way and was brave and tenacious over the last quarter of a mile."

Whether or not the 145th running of the Irish Derby was a vintage edition, or just one for the anoraks, remains to be seen. Cape Blanco may go on to prove himself a Dylan Thomas, who subsequently won five top-level contests, including an Arc and a King George, or a Fame And Glory, whose Group One score this year is two from two or merely a Frozen Fire, who won nothing afterwards afterwards. As the axiom beneath the clock on the Curragh grandstand has it: "Time discloses all."

Turf account

Sue Montgomery's nap

Dance East (8.10 Windsor) Ran the subsequent Ribblesdale runner-up to a neck before cruising home in her maiden last month with two subsequent winners behind her.

Next best

Navy List (4.45 Lingfield) Too free over further on his seasonal debut, but the drop back in trip may help him settle and continue his progress of last season.

One to watch

Away from the razzmatazz of Royal Ascot, sprint handicapper Distant Sun (L A Perratt) caught the eye with his third place at Hamilton on Friday.

Where the money's going

Saturday's Golden Jubilee Stakes hero Starspangledbanner is now 3-1 from 7-2 to follow up in next week's July Cup at Newmarket.

Chris Mcgrath's nap

Russian Spirit (2.45 Lingfield)

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
News
i100
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick