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O'Callaghan and Roche double up with Rothko

Rothko times his challenge just rightRothko times his challenge just right
© Photo Healy Racing

Michael O'Callaghan and Leigh Roche made it a quick-fire double in Punchestown when Rothko ran on well to lead in the final strides of the mile maiden for juveniles.

This was another winning debutant for the pair who also teamed up with Gozen (7/2) in the opening juvenile fillies' maiden. The double paid 66.5/1.

The 14/1 shot travelled wide in sixth at the top of the straight and soon came off the bridle. He was ridden in fifth inside the final quarter of a mile in his pursuit of Intellotto

He made eye-catching headway by the furlong pole and stayed on relentlessly to put his head in front in the final strides. Runner-up Intellotto was beaten by a head at 6/1, but finished two and a half lengths clear of the 4/9 favourite Gulf Of Mexico

The favourite got a reminder in third over three furlongs out and was soon really exerting Seamie Heffernan's arms. He lost his place approaching the straight and looked well-beaten in sixth at the furlong pole, however, he found once ridden and kept on well to get up for third.

“We got him from the same sale as the filly (Gozen), Tattersalls Ireland breeze-up at Fairyhouse,” said O'Callaghan.

“He came out of Tally Ho (Stud), a place we've found plenty of good horses before. He's a fine big horse and he's just improved all year.

“He saw the mile out well. Leigh just said he went for his girth, took a blow, quickened again and took a lot of pulling up.

“We liked him at home, I thought it was a good maiden on paper beforehand. He went plenty wide into the straight, he just got bumped out a little bit. Things didn't go ideally but he has enough ability to go and win.

“He saw the mile out there and I think he's a good horse. It was very impressive the way he galloped through the line and he took plenty of pulling up and handles an ease.

“He got an entry in the (Group 1) Vertem Futurity a couple of weeks ago, we do like him and think he'll improve plenty.”

Additional reporting by Gary Carson

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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.