Record-breaking O'Brien strikes at Leopardstown with Flag Of Honour

Sat 28 Oct 2017

Aidan O'Brien grabbed all the headlines with his record 26th top-level success of the year at Doncaster and Flag Of Honour kept the home fires burning too as he claimed Group Three glory at Leopardstown.

Lining up in the Eyrefield Stakes as the 2-1 favourite, Flag Of Honour raced prominently throughout the nine-furlong heat for Padraig Beggy and found plenty in the finish to hold stablemate Giuseppe Garibaldi at bay by a length and a half.

Beggy was eager to pay tribute to O'Brien's accomplishments this term and remains grateful to have been given the opportunity to partner Wings Of Eagles to win the Derby at Epsom back in June.

He said: "It's a great achievement by Aidan to do that in a year with that amount of winners. With a bit of luck he might have one or two more still to come as there are a few Group Ones still to go.

"I'm part of it with Wing Of Eagles, obviously. I'll definitely go down in history anyway as that'll go down in history. I've lost count (how many times I've watched the Derby). It's still saved on the TV planners anyway, so it's still there.

"I've three winners this year and they've been a Group One and two Group Threes! It's a big thanks to Aidan for it.

"Racing, especially in Ireland, is a tough, tough game and you just take what you get. Working down in Ballydoyle, whatever comes your way, you grab it.

"The right trainer is training them so we have a chance. I'll keep my head down and work away. When you get chances like this, that's what makes it work."

O'Brien had earlier landed the Tote Irish EBF Fillies Maiden with 7-2 favourite Sarrocchi, ridden by Michael Hussey.

Making Light emerged victorious in the Listed Knockaire Stakes, but only after an intervention from the stewards.

The David O'Meara-trained Larchmont Lad actually passed the post in first place, edging a nose in front on the line in the hands of Declan McDonogh.

However, a stewards' inquiry was quickly called as the pair got very close in the finish and the officials decided the interference was severe enough to merit reversing the placings.

Making Light's trainer Dermot Weld was thrilled with the verdict.

He said: "She's a very consistent filly. She was beaten a short-head at Naas the other day and a nose today, but she got it and we're delighted.

"She won a Group race here last year and this was important because she's gone this year without winning.

"It was vital that she got this race."

Before news of the stewards' decision was announced, O'Meara said: "I saw the head on when I came into the paddock and although our fella veered off the rail I don't think he ever came in contact with the second horse.

"He had his ears pricked the whole way and probably could have done with the winner challenging closer to him."

Weld was also on the mark with Flavius (evens favourite), who the handler believes could develop into a Classic contender next season after making a successful debut in the Tote Irish EBF (C & G) Maiden.

Weld said: "It was a good workmanlike performance and he's a gorgeous big colt.

"He's having a real serious blow there and there is lots of improvement in him. He'll be a lovely horse for one of the Guineas trials next spring.

"He'll be a lovely horse for a mile or a mile and a quarter next year. He's a horse we like an awful lot and he has potentially a big future."

Alan Persse enjoyed a memorable first winner when partnering Damselfly to victory in the Irish EBF Fillies Nursery.

The 10lb claimer, who was having just his eighth ride, got a dream run up the inside rail on the Joseph O'Brien-trained filly and the 10-1 chance quickened nicely to take the valuable prize by two lengths from Its My Turn.

Wonder Laish ran out an impressive winner of the Tote October Handicap as Charles Byrnes' representative galloped four and three-quarter lengths clear of Slaney Street.

Beach Bar proved a length and a half too good for Honor Oak when taking the Win Big With Tote Handicap for Richard O'Brien, while the concluding Tote Maiden saw John Oxx's Famous Pearl (8-1) edge out Free Ranger by a neck.


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