Excelebration comes home a facile winner under Joseph O'Brien
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Excelebration lived up to expectations by taking the feature Group 3 Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes at the Curragh this afternoon in convincing fashion on his first start for trainer Aidan O'Brien (treble on the day).
Ridden by Joseph O’Brien (recording a double, scored aboard Infacta Branca in the opener) the bay son of Exceed and Excel tracked the leaders early on before making smooth headway to lead over a furlong out.
He quickened clear inside the final furlong going on to score very easily by three and a quarter lengths at the odds of 2/7 favourite.
Dermot Weld trained Croisultan won the battle for second at 10/1 under Pat Smullen for Dermot Weld while the second favourite at 5/1 Beacon Lodge ran no sort of race coming in last of the six runners under Fran Berry for Dandy Nicholls.
The winner was of course formerly trained in the UK by Marco Botti. Last season he won the Group 2 German 2000 Guineas in Cologne in May, the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury in August and the Group 1 Prix Du Moulin at Longchamp in September.
On his last run for Botti he finished four lengths second to Frankel in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.
Winning trainer Aidan O'Brien said afterwards: "We didn’t know what to expect coming here.
"We have had him since the turn of the year. Obviously he was very good before we got him.
"He just does what he has to do at home. He travelled and quicken very well. I was surprise at how well he travelled.
"Marco Botti done a great job with him. He is very straight forward and laid back at home. The plan was to come here today and then go for the Lockinge Stakes next (likely to clash with Frankel there)."