Henry Longfellow (Breandán Ó hUallacháin)
By Breandán Ó hUallacháin
Henry Longfellow won the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday, a win which gave Aidan O’Brien his 4,000th training success.
Prior to the juvenile colts’ race, City Of Troy, Henry Longfellow’s stable companion was withdrawn from the race due to the change in ground conditions following heavy rain at the County Kildare racetrack around noon.
Explaining the decision to withdraw City Of Troy from the race, Aidan O’Brien said:
“Ryan (Moore, jockey) came in and said the ground was soft. We had said we would not run City Of Troy on soft ground and we had to be true to our word.”
The Ballydoyle conditioner and Coolmore partners were then relying on Henry Longfellow to deliver the €400,000 race for them.
Amazingly O’Brien had not been successful in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes since the win of Churchill in 2016. Henry Longfellow, a son of Godolphin stallion Dubawi out of the former Ballydoyle star mare Minding, put O’Brien back on the winner’s rostrum following today’s victory.
Cuban Thunder (66/1), a stable companion of the race’s second favourite Bucanero Fuerte (1/1), set the pace in the seven-furlong race. On entering the home stretch, however, it was clear that the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes winner Bucanero Fuerte was under pressure and that Henry Longfellow was going best of the runners.
The 10/11 favourite stretched away for a highly impressive five-length victory, with the staying on son of Wootton Bassett, Islandsinthestream (12/1), trained by the winning handler’s son, Joseph, claiming the runner-up position. Another two-year-old son of Coolmore Stud’s stallion Wootton Bassett, Bucanero Fuerte, faded, passing the wire another seven and a half lengths behind the runner-up.
“He is unbelievably bred and we are really looking forward to his career,” stated one of the Coolmore partners, Michael Tabor, following the win of Henry Longfellow.
“I think we can say we have got, thankfully, two very very smart horses (Henry Longfellow and race non-runner City Of Troy). Going forward we’ll see how they perform but they are top drawer.”
The winning conditioner, Aidan O’Brien, was high in his praise for the winning colt, stressing his top quality breeding:
“The pedigree of this horse is absolutely second to none. Minding was the best mare we ever trained. He travels and when Ryan (Moore, jockey) asks him, he just quickens. This horse is very different and very hard to deal with for other horses.
“We knew this horse had run a couple of weeks ago and his mam handled the ground, and he ran in it as well. Everyone has been very happy with him and he looks a very special horse – this horse quickens.”
With his trainer stating that Henry Longfellow looks like a miler, he is likely to aim for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket next May. Whether he will run again before the end of the season remains to be seen.