The Curragh (Ireland) (AFP) – Joseph O’Brien denied his father Aidan a major victory, just as he did in last year’s Melbourne Cup, as Latrobe took the honours in the Irish Derby at The Curragh on Saturday.
The 25-year-old trainer — who rode Camelot to Epsom Derby success in 2012 and also in the Irish Derby for his father but had to give up riding due to weight problems — along with brother Donnacha on board 14/1 shot Latrobe beat home two of O’Brien senior’s runners long time leader Rostropovich and the even money favourite Saxon Warrior.
“It’s pretty incredible and it’s not really sinking in yet. It’s a special moment,” said Donnacha O’Brien, who earlier this season rode Saxon Warrior to success in the English 2000 Guineas.
“We’ve always thought he was a really good horse and he’s never run a bad race, but we just thought a few times that he’d run better.
“He’s shown today that he’s very good,” whose ride earned the Australian owner Lloyd Williams the princely sum of 855,000 euros ($1million).
For Saxon Warrior it was a second costly defeat after finishing fourth in the Epsom Derby earlier this month when also a hot favourite but despite looming large in the finishing straight he could not find anything extra under Ryan Moore and finished half a length and a neck off the first two.
Aidan O’Brien accepted defeat with a rare quip.
“I stopped giving them pocket money a while ago,” said the 48-year-old.
Latrobe bore the same colours — those of Australian Lloyd Williams — the Joseph O’Brien trained Rekindling donned to win the ‘race that stops a nation’ last year with his father’s Johannes Vermeer second in Melbourne.
The Epsom Derby form took a hit too not only with Saxon Warrior’s disappointing performance but the runner-up Dee Ex Bee finished seventh of the 12 runners at The Curragh.