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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
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

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital