Power held off the late challenge of Dragon Pulse to win the $269,000 Goffs National Stakes (Ire-I) by a half-length at the Curragh Sept. 10.
The victory earned the son of Oasis Dream an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs, since it is part of the “Win and You’re In” Series sponsored by the Breeders’ Cup.
Power provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with his eighth win in the National Stakes. O’Brien’s most recent victory in the race was in 2008, when Mastercraftsman captured the event.
A field of nine juvenile colts went to the post in the National, with Galileo EBF Futurity Stakes (Ire-II) winner, Dragon Pulse, going off as the slight 5-2 favorite. Power, one of four O’Brien-trained runners in the field, was made the 11-4 co-second choice, along with the Jeremy Noseda-trained Talwar.
At the start it was David Livingston, under Pat Smullen, who went to the front to set the pace. They were followed by Vault and Strait of Zanzibar, as jockey Seamie Heffernan had Power settled just behind the leaders in fourth. Dragon Pulse raced in midfield under Fran Berry, with Talwar and Tough as Nails settled toward the rear of the field during the early going.
The order remained the same through the early stages of the race. With two furlongs remaining, Heffernan went to work aboard Power and the colt responded, charging past David Livingston to take the lead. At the same time, Dragon Pulse made his bid on the far outside, quickly moving into second as he set his sights on the leader.
In the final yards, Dragon Pulse threw down his challenge but could never get by the leader, as Power had plenty left in the tank and was easily able to hold off his rival’s bid. Dragon Pulse had to settle for second, finishing 1 1/4 lengths in front of David Livingston.
The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:27.74 over the yielding to soft going.
Winning rider Heffernan said after the race, “He did it well in the end, he’s tough. The ground is probably slow enough for him although it’s nice soft ground. He’s strong and genuine as well.”
The victory improved Power’s overall record to four wins from five starts. His only loss came in his previous start, when he finished second to La Collina in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) on Aug. 7.
Power was bred in England by Hugo Lascelles and Norelands, and races for the partnership of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier. Power is out of the winning Inchinor mare, Frappe, and is a half-brother to 2005 Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-II) winner, Thakafaat.
Born To Sea Impresses in Debut
In the race immediately preceding the National Stakes, Born To Sea, a half brother to champion Sea The Stars, made an impressive career debut as he charged from the back of the pack to easily capture the listed Irish Field Blenheim Stakes.
The 2-year-old son of Invincible Spirit, who is also a half brother to Galileo, is the last foal out of the champion race mare and blue hen producer Urban Sea.
Settled toward the rear of the eight-horse field by Johnny Murtagh, Born To Sea had to weave through the field at first, before getting into the clear with just over two furlongs to run. Once in the clear on the outside, the bay colt charged past the leaders to win comfortably, crossing the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front.
Final time for the six-furlong contest was 1:16.01.
Trainer John Oxx told reporters afterwards, “The main objective was to let him have a nice experience today. It was a good performance to win a listed race on his first run.”
“He’s a lot more precocious than his brother (Sea The Stars); you could nearly have run him in April. The plan was to run in July but he got sore shins.”
Regarding the colt’s immediate plans, Oxx said, “He’ll run next in the Killavullan Stakes (Ire-III) at Leopardstown at the end of October. That will be his only other run this year.”