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McDonogh steers home Brilliant in Group 3 for O'Brien

Brilliant, centre, shows a willing attitudeBrilliant, centre, shows a willing attitude
© Photo Healy Racing

Brilliant (7/2) secured that all important Group 3 success in the Park Stakes over a mile in the Curragh.

Since landing her maiden at Leopardstown last summer, she has been picking up prize money in Group-race company.

Declan McDonogh had four horses in a line in front of him two-and-a-half-furlongs down and soon looked for the gap on the inner.

He didn't have to go for his filly who stylishly moved into a narrow lead with a furlong and a-half to travel.

McDonogh shook her up coming to the final furlong as she faced a challenge on either side from Alpheratz and Goldana

Alpheratz (4/1) actually had her head in front inside the final 150 yards, however, Brilliant really toughed it out to get up by half a length. Goldana, the 6/4 favourite, was another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Aidan O’Brien said: “I’m delighted with her and he gave her a very good ride.

“I think she probably had the best form in the race and, on her first run of the year, I’m delighted with her.

“She’d been working nicely and is a hardy filly. It’s a big call for three-year-olds against older horses on that ground at this time of the year.

“She’ll step up and a mile is good for her. That will be her trial and she’ll go into one of the Guineas now after that. She might end up going to Newmarket and back here.

“She doesn’t really want that ground but she went in it. A mile is probably her trip and she’s a sister to Alcohol Free.”

Explaining the reason that Ryan Moore didn’t ride in the race (both O’Brien-trained fillies carried 8st8lb with Wayne Lordan on fourth-placed Everlasting , O'Brien said: “Ryan is heading to Australia for the Golden Slipper tomorrow and we didn’t want him dropping down too low this time of the year. It’s a long year and he has a long trip.”

Additional reporting by Alan Magee

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About Michael Graham
Michael has worked in horse racing journalism for more than 15 years, having also written a weekly betting column on Gaelic football and hurling for a newspaper. He is involved in writing the My Racing Story features on this website. He spent a year in South Africa completing a Diploma in Business Administration and also studied Newspaper Journalism in Belfast. He enjoys playing 5-a-side football on a regular basis.