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Aidan O'Brien registers 4,000th winner

Henry Longfellow and Ryan Moore win the National StakesHenry Longfellow and Ryan Moore win the National Stakes
© Photo Healy Racing

Aidan O'Brien today recorded his 4,000th success as a trainer, as Henry Longfellow neatly bridged a 27-year gap between wins for the Ballydoyle maestro in the Curragh's top-level Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes.

Named in honour of O'Brien's unrelated predecessor at Ballydoyle, the seven-furlongs contest is the premier juvenile race for colts in Ireland and, in 1996, provided O'Brien with his first Group 1 success, with Desert King.

Today O'Brien declared both Henry Longfellow and City Of Tory but, 19 minutes before race-time, withdrew the morning-favourite due to rain-softened ground.

Just four horses ran, including Group 1 Phoenix Stakes winner Bucanero Fuerto, and while Cuban Thunder set a strong pace, was swept aside two furlongs out by Henry Longfellow, under Ryan Moore, which defeated Islandsinthestream by five lengths, with Bucanero Fuerto finishing third.

O'Brien won with his first runner Wandering Thoughts at Tralee on June 7 1993, and having bagged five Jumps Trainers Championships between 1994-'98, subsequently accepted owner/breeder John Magnier's request to train at Ballydoyle, Co Tipperary and has won every flat championship since 1998.

Regarding Henry Longfellow, out of Ballydoyle's top racemare Minding, O'Brien today reported “the pedigree of this horse is second to none. She (Minding) was the best mare we ever trained and by Dubawi was the best out-cross that she could go to.

“He travels and he quickens and that is very difficult for other horses to handle.

“We knew this horse (Henry Longfellow) had run a couple of weeks ago and his mam handled the ground no problem. Everyone has been very happy with him and he looks a very special horse.

“His mam won over a mile, a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half.

“It’s very possible (that could be his last run this season) but we’ll see.”

He added “City Of Troy hadn’t run for a good while and was going to improve from the run. Sometimes in that ground they can have a hard time. He would die on his feet for you today and we didn’t want to do that to him once the ground turned.

“I had said to the lads that we wouldn’t run City Of Troy on soft ground. We took a chance in Newmarket and got away with it. He’s too beautiful a mover. Ryan was adamant that it was closer to soft than good to yielding.”

Jockey Moore added “he is a very impressive horse and is obviously he is out of Minding and she was a very special filly. This fellow is getting better, the pace was string and I didn't want to let Bucanero Fuerto off — I thought he was very impressive.

“He can be a bit idle but he is a very good horse.”

Quotes from Alan Magee

About Tom Weekes
A lifelong racing fan, Tom began writing point to point reports in 2002 and has reported for irishracing.com since 2003, when he joined Irish Racing Services - since taken over by the Press Association. Has ridden a point to point winner and won the 2018 Irish Field Naps Table.