HomeHorse RacingLos Angeles won the Irish Derby at the Curragh

Los Angeles won the Irish Derby at the Curragh

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Los Angeles (13/8) won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Los Angeles, one place and over three lengths behind Ambiente Friendly when the pair were second and third in the English Derby at Epsom, reversed the places with a battling display under Ryan Moore.

Moore settled his mount on the rail behind stablemates Euphoric, Grosvenor Square and The Euphrates, with Los Angeles ridden more patiently than had been the case at the start of the month.

Rab Havlin, on board the 6/4 favourite Ambiente Friendly, tracked him throughout, racing on the outside of Matsuri to ensure that he had plenty of daylight. Approaching the final turn into the straight, the leader Euphoric drifted off the rail and Los Angeles and Moore took full advantage in quickening through the gap to take up the running.

However, Ambiente Friendly followed him through and went alongsides appearing to have plenty of petrol left in the tank, just as he had caught the eye at Epsom, but there was well over a furlong still to run and Los Angeles battled back gamely to put his head back in front.

Ultimately, the favourite was run out of second by Sunway who had launched a strong challenge from the rear of the field in company with Matsuri who was stepping out of novice company and finished only a neck down in fourth.

The winning margins were three quarters of a length and half a length.

Victory gave Aidan O’Brien a record-extending 16th triumph in the race.

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“We were delighted with him in Epsom and we thought he would come forward,” said O’Brien.

“Obviously he did go forward in Epsom and learned plenty, we were hoping that would be the case so he could come back here. Ryan gave him a great ride. It was a solid, even pace and it’s an unbelievable track. It’s great to have this race at this time of the year so all those horses can come together and you get to find out what’s there.

“He’s a big, hardy horse. He looks like he was a baby, but he is a Group One winner at two as well. He is progressing, definitely, and we’re really looking forward to him. Obviously he’s by Camelot so he has that class, he can quicken.

“Ryan said he had a lot more class than he expected and he quickened very well when he got there.”

Bookmakers were quick to promote Los Angeles to favouritism for the Betfred St Leger, although O’Brien said: “We came here thinking that he was going to turn into a Leger horse, but Ryan said he has way more class than that.”

Coolmore boss John Magnier was in attendance, and said of the Epsom form standing up: “That’s important, especially now that the French have changed their race (Prix du Jockey Club) and it’s not really the Derby anymore. It’s good to have the Epsom form held up here, really important I’d say.”

Some have suggested the Irish Derby should follow the French route and drop to 10 furlongs, but Magnier said: “That’s (mile and a half) the tradition and the history. It’s like the Belmont in America, they won’t shorten the distance. The thing is that you need to go from the top to the bottom, you don’t need all five-furlong races.”

On the winner he added: “Maybe Willie Mullins will be looking for him now! He is a good stamp of a horse. He won his Group One race as a two-year-old, he’s an improving horse, as Aidan has said. Maybe he’ll get even better.

“The race paid a compliment to him (City Of Troy), obviously. We’ll let the horse do the talking now. Aidan said what he said about him last year and we looked a bit stupid after the Guineas, so I don’t think we’ll say any more and let him deal with it from now on.”


Reaction from the beaten connections

David Menuisier, trainer of Sunway, said: “I’m delighted with the horse because we’ve always thought the world of him and people kind of lost faith in the horse but today he really vindicated himself, showed that he is a real class act and I’m delighted for the horse.

“He got hampered at the start, he was nearly brought down, and then he was closing really fast, he was only beaten three quarters of a length for fourth place, the ground was tacky; he did something special that day and I think people didn’t give him credit for that. I never doubted the horse because I see him every morning and I know he’s a good horse, we are not that stupid to not realise that! I’m absolutely over the moon he vindicated himself today.

“I could see him staying a bit further, if the owners agree he could well go for the Leger and we could have a top stayer on our hands.”

Havlin: “We knew it was going to be a good gallop, sneaked through on the inside, went to challenge the winner but the red light was starting to come on coming to the furlong. From the two to the one we had a good old ding dong and then inside the one, I could feel he was getting the better of me and coming to the line I needed the line. We’ll get him back and possibly go back to a mile and a quarter. There are good races to be won with him and good days in him.”

James Fanshawe, trainer of Ambiente Friendly: “He was outstayed in the last furlong. The winner and the second are both very good horses; the winner was more at ease today, much better behaved (than at Epsom) and the second was a Group One winner at two so we were beaten by two good horses but I still think we will probably be dropping back in trip next time.

“He’s run in a trial and two Derbys so we will see how he is when he gets home. It would be quite nice to get him winning again after two hard races but obviously you’d love to have a go at the Champion Stakes at Ascot at the end of the year. He’s got a lot of pace and he is growing up an awful lot you know. Mr Gredley really wanted to have a go at the Derbys and fair play to him sticking to that route and it’s paid off.”

Roger Varian, trainer of Matsuri: “He’s confirmed he’s a very good horse, we thought that coming into the race so it’s obviously pleasing to see him hold his own. Maybe we think what could have been if we had a cleaner passage, only watched it the once, have to watch it again, but don’t think we quite got the room to run when perhaps we needed it but that’s racing.

“He’s run a fine race, hopefully he’s okay tomorrow and we can make some good plans for him. He was beaten a length in total having had a slightly troubled passage in the home straight. He’s a good horse and he showed that today and we’ll see what’s around the corner for him.”


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