Aidan O’Brien-trained his fifth consecutive Irish Derby winner when Cape Blanco led home a Ballydoyle trifecta in the Curragh classic on Sunday. The Galileo colt bounced back from a last-start loss in the French Derby to narrowly defeat stablemates Midas Touch and Jan Vermeer.
Cape Blanco (3c Galileo — Laurel Delight by Presidium) was undefeated in four starts, including the G2 Dante Stakes, prior to the Chantilly defeat and Johnny Murtagh’s decision to keep faith him was vindicated yesterday.
“I had a lovely run through the race,” Murtagh said. “He travelled very sweetly and he was very brave and tenacious over the last two furlongs. I had the pick of the Aidan’s runners but can’t take the credit because he suggested Cape Blanco was the one.”
Cape Blanco is raced by Coolmore associate Derrick Smith and he will now be aimed at the King George at Ascot which sets up a rematch with English Derby winner Workforce. The Coolmore colt beat him in the Dante at York.
Cape Blanco extended O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner tally to 8 and the list includes Galileo who was successful in 2001. He thanked Murtagh for a brilliant ride and said connections would seriously think about the King George. “The French Derby was a blip and we cannot understand why. He wasn’t the horse we know over there but he’s left that behind him.”
Coolmore agent Demi O’Byrne bought Cape Blanco for 330,000 euros (AUD 575,240) at the 2008 Goffs yearling sale. He is a Galileo half-brother to North American G2 winner Mr O’Brien and the minor sprint winners Laurel Pleasure and Spassky. His dam Laurel Delight was a specialist sprinter and she is a half-sister to Paris House who was a G3 winner at Sandown and Newmarket.
Monterosso, a Dubawi colt from Australian G1 winner Porta Roca, finished fourth as the 3-1 favourite in the Irish Derby. He was only one-paced in the final furlong and trainer Mark Johnston mentioned the race may have come too soon after his G2 victory in the G2 King Edward V11 Stakes at Royal Ascot.