O'Brien's lesser lights stride into frame for Epsom Classics


The established Ballydoyle stars are scheduled to glitter at Newmarket at the weekend, with Camelot and Maybe, last year's top-rated juvenile colt and filly, short-priced favourites for the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas respectively. But there have been echoes of light from some of their less-exposed Aidan O'Brien stablemates, notably the filly Kissed at Navan yesterday and the colt Imperial Monarch at Sandown on Saturday.

Both now have the Epsom Classics within their orbit. And the pair have much in common: their sire Galileo and a close relationship to a Derby performer, their step up the class ladder after one successful maiden outing last year and the inevitable contraction in their odds for next month's middle-distance showpieces.

O'Brien's son Joseph was in both saddles, though the victories came in markedly contrasting styles. That of Kissed, whose Montjeu half-brother Pour Moi won last year's Derby, was perfectly straightforward; she dominated yesterday's Salsabil Stakes, making all the running before stretching powerfully eight and a half lengths clear through the final two furlongs.

Her time was slow, but she still completed the Navan 10 furlongs nearly half a second faster than the more strongly-pressed colt Karatash in the next contest, and now splits Maybe and another Ballydoyle filly, Wading, at the top of the Oaks betting, at 5-1. Before yesterday's performance she had been a general 12-1 or 14-1 shot, though Ladbrokes, reputed to be closest to the Co Tipperary operation, had had her on side at 9-1.

Imperial Monarch, whose Sadler's Wells half-brother The Great Gatsby beat all bar Kris Kin at Epsom nine years ago, was beneficiary of a more cunning plan; in the Classic Trial in the Esher mud the O'Briens pere et fils decided, after walking the course, that the best tactic was to sacrifice ground in favour of finding the least testing going, a strip near the outside rails that had been compacted by vehicles.

That attention to detail worked to produce a cosy lengths and three-quarter win for a colt now as short as 12-1 for Epsom glory, with 19-year-old O'Brien showing a masterly grasp of fractions, a talent he typically played down at Navan yesterday. "It's easy to win when you're on the best horse," he said.

Speaking of Kissed, he added: "We thought she'd improved a lot from two to three and she's proved that. The plan was not necessarily to make the running, but she broke quickly and they were only ever going to trot round in that ground, so the best thing seemed to be just to hack away in front."

At Longchamp yesterday, Cirrus Des Aigles followed up his narrow defeat of Ballydoyle's St Nicholas Abbey in the Dubai Sheema Classic with an effortless defeat of the good, progressive filly Giofra in the first Group 1 contest of the European season, the Prix Ganay.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Bounty Seeker (4.45 Kempton) Expensive yearling who was highly tried last term. This is more his level and made a satisfactory return (his first run as a gelding) at Wolverhampton last month.

Next Best

Mutafaakir (2.45 Kempton) Learning with experience and finished well in a seven-furlong maiden at Newmarket 12 days ago.

One to watch

The Mellor Fella (Richard Fahey)Had no sort of run at Ripon on Saturday, his seasonal debut, and can be counted better than his 10th place as he drops toward his last winning mark.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Administrator

£14400 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a multi-d...

Recruitment Genius: Service, Maintenance & Installation Engineers - London

£34000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of Energy Consult...

Austen Lloyd: Planning Solicitor - Bristol

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: FIRST CLASS FIRM - A very exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner - Night Shift

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A leading Leicestershire based chilled food ma...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot