Santiago provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with an incredible 14th winner of the Irish Derby, leading the first four home in this year’s Classic at the Curragh for the Ballydoyle maestro.

The Michal Tabor owned colt, who had won the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot just eight days earlier, justified 2-1 favouritism to win by a head from fast finishing stablemate Tiger Moth, with Dawn Patrol third and Order Of Australia coming fourth.

After being held-up off the pace by Seamie Heffernan, Santiago burst from the pack two and a half furlongs out to go clear.

He then dug deep late to give Heffernan his fourth win in the race.

O’Brien was full of praise for the brave winner who was having just his fifth career outing. He said: “Ascot was his first run of the year, and he had a tough enough race over a mile and six. It was a big call and a big worry to run , but obviously there is only one Irish Derby.

“Seamus gave him a lovely ride, and he’s tough and genuine. There is a chance he could have a break now, and be trained for the St Leger.”

Santiago is now a top priced 11/4 with Ladbrokes further the St Leger and I think he looks tailor made for the 1m 6f Classic contest and a worthy favourite.

As O’Brien did not declare him to ine Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday (July 4) that race is clearly now the next target for Santiago.

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Magical proves just the trick in Pretty Polly

Magical gave O’brien another Group 1 success at the meeting when making an impressive return to action in the 1m 2f Pretty Polly Stakes.

The five-year-old, who was landing her fifth success at the highest level, looked as good as ever under a confident ride from Seamie Heffernan.

He bounced Magical out of the stalls to gain early advantage and from that point she never saw another rival.

The 2/5 favourite scooted clear in the home straight without being asked any serious sort of question to easily beat Cayenne Pepper by 4 1/2 lengths.

The winning trainer revealed that the 1m 4f King George at Ascot was next on the agenda for Magical and she is the 4/1 second favourite with 888sport. Old rival Enable heads the betting at 6/4 with Unibet.

O’Brien said: “She’s very exciting and always has been, but she’s got stronger this year and that’s why the lads decided to leave her in training.

“We could have gone to Sandown for next week’s Coral-Eclipse, but this was a lovely race to start her off. We’ll look at the King George for her next. We learned last year that she gets 10 furlongs really well and gets 12 as well. It makes her very uncomplicated.

“The Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc are all races that are open to her.”

Owners set to get back on track from July 4

The British Horseracing Authority has revealed that owners will be allowed to attend race meetings from July Saturday, July 4 – but strict protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic will be in place.

Tests events will be staged this week to see how well new protocols will work, but should all go smoothly, those involved in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday will be allowed to see their horses run.

Attendance will be limited to two owners per horse and they will be restricted to specific “owner zones” in line with current government guidance.

The plans have been agreed by the Racecourse Association (RCA), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and British Horseracing Authority (BHA) bit may owners have vented their anter on twitter that they will only be allowed on track 45 minutes before their horses are due to run and must leave within an hour after the race.

The two test fixtures will be Southwell and Kempton on Wednesday and owners will be notified via email about how to register once their horse is declared to run.

Among the measures which must be followed is a health-screening process which includes a Covid-19 learning module, followed by a health assessment and temperature check on arrival.

RCA chief executive, David Armstrong, said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome back owners to the racecourse, albeit in limited numbers for now.

“Owners are critical to our sport and their patience and support during lockdown has been vital. The special measures that are set out in the new protocols should enable owners to enjoy the racing experience again but to do so in a safe and responsible fashion.”

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