Aidan O’Brien gained a record fourteenth success in the Irish Derby on Saturday, with the front four placings all being from Ballydoyle. A remarkable achievement, O’Brien and connections of Santiago will be dreaming of even more success after the son of Authorized toughed it out and less than ideal conditions at the Curragh.
Tenacious Santiago Not To Be Denied
Making it two wins from two starts at group level, Santiago gave Seamie Hefferan the perfect ride in the Irish Derby. Settling beautifully early on, when asked to quicken, the response was immediate as he weaved between rivals to take the lead approaching the final furlong.
Although being closed down by stable-mate Tiger Moth, that rival never looked likely to go by, as Santiago toughed it out in grand style and with such a performance, marked himself out as a potentially key runner in the St Leger at Doncaster later this season.
Sleepy Santiago The Perfect Fit
The St Leger is raced over the 1m 6f distance and is the final classic of the British season. As such, it requires a horse with plenty of stamina, but also a gear change when required. Horses stepping up in distance can prove too keen and blunt that finishing effort, but Santiago looks just the type to relish this test.
Settling beautifully at both Ascot and the Curragh, he possesses a sharp change of gear, and thanks to his patience in the early stages, he always has something left in the tank to hold on with, just as he did in the Irish Derby.
O’Brien had some positive words to say too regarding a potential tilt at Doncaster in autumn, stating: “He’s a lovely staying type of horse and they went an honest gallop. We thought he might be a St Leger horse and be one to look forward to as a Cup horse next year“.
O’Brien Knows Just The Type
Winning the St Leger on six occasions, Aidan O’Brien certainly knows the perfect fit for the contest. Training the likes of Leading Light, Capri and Kew Gardens in recent years, he looks to have another strong hand in the contest with not just Santiago, but Tiger Moth and Dawn Patrol too.
Both of those horses finished extremely well on Saturday and by the omission of O’Brien, they’re still babies with the best yet to come: “The horses behind him are still babies, so they’re there to look forward to as well“.