BY hitting his rivals for six with a runaway win in the 150th Irish Derby, Jack Hobbs enhanced the reputation still further of stablemate Golden Horn – the horse of the 2015 Flat season.
The only horse to beat the John Gosden-trained Jack Hobbs this season is Golden Horn, who prevailed when the stablemates clashed in York’s Dante Stakes and Epsom Derby, and who will look to add to his own big-race haul in Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse on Saturday.
Indeed, the Derby form was upheld with honour when Jack Hobbs, Storm The Stars and Giovanni Canaletto – second, third and fourth at Epsom – filled the first three places at the Curragh on Saturday.
William Buick kept things simple aboard Jack Hobbs, positioning him close to the pace as the William Haggas-trained Storm The Stars cut out the running under Pat Cosgrave.
Jack Hobbs, a gangly horse only now coming into his own, loomed alongside from the home turn and showed thrilling acceleration once asked the question by a confident Buick to seal Classic glory in a matter of strides.
The official winning margin was five lengths as Jack Hobbs won Ireland’s premier race six months to the day after making a winning debut at Wolverhampton.
The first British-trained winner of the Irish Derby since Commander In Chief in 1993, it was also a special moment for Gosden, who was winning the race for the first time. He served his apprenticeship at Ballydoyle and was closely associated with Vincent O’Brien and Lester Piggott’s legendary 1977 dual Derby winner The Ministrel.
Gosden has held Jack Hobbs and Golden Horn in the highest regard since they galloped together on August 23 last year.
However, while Golden Horn is likely to be retired to stud at the end of this season, Jack Hobbs – co-owned by Sheikh Mohammed and the trainer’s wife Rachel Hood – is a longer-term proposition and could dominate the mile-and-a-half division for some time.
After four runs in just over two months, he will have a long lay-off before an autumn campaign that will revolve around the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – Europe’s flagship race. The likely soft ground will play to the colt’s strengths while it would not be the greatest surprise if Storm The Stars and Aidan O’Brien’s Giovanni Canaletto resumed their rivalry in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.
Northern Racing College graduate Buick was formerly stable jockey for Gosden before taking up a leading role in the Godolphin team, and he gave his mount a fine ride, ensuring he was never in danger of getting hemmed in by Giovanni Canaletto off the home turn.
He said: “That was fantastic. He’s a great horse. I had a lot of belief in him before Epsom and he was even better today. He’s a horse that’s improving all the time. He’s got better with every run, he’s a horse with a great turn of foot.”
Roger Charlton’s Quest For More won the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. The best of the Yorkshire runners was Richard Fahey’s defending champion Angel Gabrial in fourth with Seamour the first of the Brian Ellison horses home in sixth.
Leyburn trainer Karl Burke is eyeing a couple of trips to France with Katie’s Diamond, who was carrying the colours of her new owners Qatar Racing for the first time when winning at Newmarket. The favourite built on her Redcar debut win with a Listed triumph in the hands of jockey Andrea Atzeni.