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    Ascot is Joseph O'Brien's preferred one for winning juveniles
Ascot is Joseph O'Brien's preferred one for winning juveniles
Ascot is Joseph O'Brien's preferred one for winning juveniles. Source: attheraces.com

Ascot is Joseph O'Brien's preferred one for winning juveniles

It was expected that the name O'Brien would win the first two races at the Curragh, but Joseph was the one to unleash two very talented young horses, defeating the other two trained by his father Aidan.

With his victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race, Midnight Strike had a fantastic start to his career.

Under Dylan Browne McMonagle, the Starspangled Banner colt was a 15-2 shot, but he exuded class all the way.

Ahead of Treasure Isle (5-4 favourite), the first two-year-old runner for Aidan O'Brien this season, by two lengths, Midnight Strike was always moving strongly and had taken the lead by the final furlong marker.

“I thought he was a nice colt but didn’t expect him to win like that,” the winning trainer said. He looks like an Ascot-type horse and he’s another nice Starspangledbanner for the owners. We thought he’d stay six but was certainly quick enough to start at five. He looks very smart.”

Subsequently, the younger O'Brien scored another victory in the Keadeen Hotel Irish EBF Maiden, defeating Cowardofthecounty 17–2 under Browne McMonagle.

Once more, a Ballydoyle stallion commanded the market as Whistlejacket, full brother of the two-year-old Little Big Bear champion, outperformed the evens favourite.

At one point, it appeared as though Whistlejacket had the lead and would win, but Cowardofthecounty surged up beside him and won by a margin of two and a half lengths.

“This fella looked like he could be a bit special at home but you’re never really sure with a two-year-old until they go to the races,” O’Brien said. “He’s a particularly laid-back horse and couldn’t have been more impressive. He’s a big horse, well over 500 kilos which for a two-year-old at this stage is a lot. A lot of people pitch in two-year-olds with an older horse to give them a guide, but we don’t and keep the two-year-olds together. They are the first two colts that we have run and it looks like we have a couple of nice ones! They have both been away once and today is just the second time they have been on grass. We don’t drill our two-year-olds and like them to progress. It bodes well on what they have done today.”

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