Roderic O'Connor sprints home in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Roderic O'Connor sprints home in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas.
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Trevor Jones

'Roderic' Rolls Home in Irish 2,000 Guineas

Roderic O'Connor captured the Abu Dhabi Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) May 21.

Roderic O'Connor took command at the start and never looked back as he galloped home an easy winner of the $463,587 Abu Dhabi Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) at the Curragh May 21.

The Guineas was definitely a family affair for the Coolmore/Ballydoyle team, since the Galileo colt was ridden to victory by Joseph O’Brien, the oldest son of trainer Aidan O’Brien. It was the first classic victory for the younger O’Brien, who will turn 18 May 23.

The victory by Roderic O’Connor was the third classic win of the season for Galileo, who also sired Frankel and Golden Lilac, the respective winners of this year’s QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I). All three classic winners are out of Danehill mares.

Roderic O’Connor showed tremendous potential as a juvenile last season, finishing a strong second to champion Frankel in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I) in just his third career start. He then wrapped up the season with a win in the Criterium International (Fr-I) in November. In his only prior start this season Roderic O'Connor finished a well-beaten eleventh to Frankel in the Two Thousand Guineas three weeks ago.

Fellow O’Brien runner High Ruler was expected to set the pace, but race tactics quickly changed as Roderic O’Connor broke alertly and went to the front. He was followed by High Ruler and Slim Shadey, as jockey Richard Hughes was content to track the leaders from the rear aboard favorite Dubawi Gold.

The order remained the same throughout the early stages of the race. With just over two furlongs to run, Hughes switched Dubawi Gold to the outside, and the pair began making up ground on the leader as they moved into third.

Roderic O’Connor still had plenty left in the tank, however, and continued to race strongly under O’Brien. He stubbornly held off Dubawi Gold, crossing the wire three-quarters of a length in front.

Dubawi Gold finished a half-length in front of the late-charging Oracle, who had to settle for third. Final time for the eight furlongs, run in a heavy downpour, was 1:37.88 over a course still listed as good to firm.

Proud father and trainer Aidan O’Brien said after the race, “I can’t explain just how delighted we are. Joseph works very hard and he knows this horse well. All credit must go to the owners for giving him a chance.”

A humble Joseph O’Brien added, “I owe the owners a big thanks for giving me this opportunity. That’s about my 60th winner now and this is what you dream of. Dad had him ready for today.”

Roderic O’Connor is out of the stakes-winning Danehill mare Secret Garden, and hails from the female family of champions/group I winners Durtal, Detroit, and Carnegie.  Roderic O’Connor was bred in Ireland by Swettenham Stud, and is raced by the partnership of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.