Monday, June 29, 2009

Fame and Glory takes Irish Derby

By Alan Shuback
Daily Racing Form

Fame and Glory took full advantage of the absence of Sea the Stars to romp home in the $2 million Irish Derby at the Curragh on Sunday, leaving his Aidan O'Brien-trained stable companion Golden Sword five lengths in his wake in the 1 1/2-mile Group 1 classic.

While the victorious 8-11 son of Montjeu deserves full credit for crushing this solid field, questions about the true worth of the form will be raised due to the Saturday withdrawal of Sea the Stars due to the yielding ground. Fame and Glory had finished 1 3/4 lengths second at Epsom but was showing obvious improvement in taking his second Group 1 contest.

Rockhampton, one of six O'Brien-trained horses in the race, zipped to a six- or seven-length lead with another O'Brien trainee, Epsom Derby fifth Golden Sword, three lengths in front of Mourayan. Johnny Murtagh sat patiently in fifth, knowing full well that the leaders would come back to him, and that they did. Golden Sword led approaching the three-furlong stretch but Fame and Glory wore him down nearing the eighth pole. Going quickly clear, he covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:30.87. Mourayan, who like Sea the Stars is trained by John Oxx, was third, beaten six lengths, while the O'Brien-trained Masterofthehorse, third in the Epsom Derby, was fourth, 10 lengths behind Mourayan.

Fame and Glory is no stranger to the winner's circle. He had won the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud last fall and the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes and Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial this spring, all at 1 1/4 miles, before losing his perfect record at Epsom. On Sunday he was giving O'Brien his fourth consecutive Irish Derby win and seventh overall.

O'Brien expressed a desire for a rematch with the Epsom Derby winner, but that will have to wait awhile as Oxx is now pointing Sea the Stars at the 1 1/4-mile Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park on July 4 for a meeting with Breeders' Cup Turf winner Conduit, as well as O'Brien's Epsom Derby fourth Rip Van Winkle.

* Earlier, Alfred Nobel gave O'Brien and Murtagh a win in the Group 2, $166,000 Railway Stakes for 2-year-olds. The 3-2 Danehill Dancer colt was improving in his fourth start to defeat In Some Respect by 1 1/4 lengths while getting the six furlongs in 1:15.05. The lone filly in the field, Kitty Kiernan, came home 2 1/2 lengths fourth.

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