O'Brien makes it a delightful Derby dozen
Aidan O'Brien extended his record tally of wins in the Irish Derby to 12 on Saturday as Capri took the honours at The Curragh with his Epsom Derby champion Wings of Eagles third.
Seamie Heffernan coaxed the 6 to 1 shot Capri home a neck ahead of the John Gosden-trained Cracksman, who had finished third at Epsom, whilst 2 to 1 favourite Wings of Eagles - a shock winner at Epsom last month - was a short head in arrears.
Heffernan - winning his third Irish Derby - looked set fair for victory entering the final furlong on Capri, who had finished only sixth in the Epsom Derby, but had to repel a late challenge from Pat Smullen on Cracksman, who came with a late burst down the outside.
"I was always a great believer in this horse. Even after Epsom, Heffernan wanted to come here and ride him," said O'Brien."We know that he gets a mile and a half and we know that he's brave. Heffernan had a lovely position through the race.
"I thought Heffernan gave him a brilliant ride. He paced it brilliantly. He had a target there and he knew the field was coming behind him but he timed it to perfection."
O'Brien, who contributed five of the nine runners, was not too disappointed by Wings of Eagles.
"Wings Of Eagles ran very well and came there to go, but maybe a tough mile and a half might be as far as he wants to go - he might have just been outstayed," said the 47-year-old Irishman.
Earlier, leading National Hunt trainer Gordon Elliott showed he is a dab hand on the flat as well.
His two-year-old Beckford prevailed in the Group Two Railway Stakes with O'Brien's favourite Murillo well beaten in third.
Elliott, who was recording his first Group race win on the flat, insisted unlike O'Brien had done he would not be switching from the jumps to the flat.
"In the summer it's something nice to do. It's a bit of fun and something different but I'm a National Hunt man and you have to remember where your bread and butter is," said Elliott, who numbers the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup among his major National Hunt victories.