Balestrini Upset Winner of McGrath Memorial
Updated: Sunday, April 13, 2003 4:11 PM
Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2003 4:11 PM
Michael Tabor's longshot Balestrini set the pace and held on to win the Group 3 PW McGrath Memorial Ballsax Stakes by a half-length Sunday at Leopardstown.
The race has produced the last three Vodafone Derby winners, but Balestrini, at 33-1 and ridden by 18-year-old Tom Queally, was the rabbit for trainer Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle team serious Derby horse, Alberto Giacometti. However, Alberto Giacometti, with Mick Kinane in the irons, tired and finished third, 5 1/2 lengths behind.
"Obviously we were expecting Alberto Giacometti to run a very good race and it is a bit disappointing," O'Brien told The Racing Post. "But it is a long season and he is still carrying plenty of condition. Mick said he just got tired. We'll wait a while before making further plans for him."
Alamshar and jockey John Murtagh finished up well to get second in the 1 1/4-mile test which attracted five starters. The winning time of 2:05.9 on good to firm turf matched that of High Chaparral, who carried five more pounds while winning the race last year.
The Irish-bred Balestrini is by Danehill out of the Ela-Mana-Mou broodmare Welsh Love.
Balestrini led all the way, quickening as they hit the final straight and had just enough left to get the victory over Alamshar, who moved into second place a furlong out.
FREE! E-Newsletters from The Blood-Horse!...
Follow the top stories of major racing events, racing previews and results with FREE e-newsletters from bloodhorse.com. As news develops, we'll deliver updates to your inbox. Follow important events moment by moment, step by step!