Capri wins Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby
July 1, 2017
Aidan O’Brien registered a remarkable 12th victory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby – 20 years after his first – after Capri edged out British raider Cracksman and Derby hero Wings Of Eagles in a thrilling three-way finish.
Sixth at Epsom, Capri turned the Derby form on its head after sticking to his guns under Seamie Heffernan on the far rail to hold off the fast-finishing Cracksman by a neck, with a short-head back to Wings Of Eagles.
The ever-reliable Heffernan was seen at his best on the 6-1 shot as he collected his third success in the race following back-to-back victories with Soldier Of Fortune and Frozen Fire in 2007 and 2008.
“He’s tough and has been running in good races so I was confident I had the ammunition,” said the jockey. “It’s a nice surprise but Aidan trains them from race to race, to keep improving and they usually do.”
Turning for home, the Ballydoyle quintet led the field in Indian file with Capri tucked in behind the pacesetting The Anvil and Wings Of Eagles a couple of places back in the hands of Ryan Moore.
Having taken over the lead a long way out, Capri was there to be shot at but he kept finding for Heffernan and although Cracksman, who was brought down the middle of the track, and Wings Of Eagles looked poised to catch the grey he hung on at the line.
Capri, whose strongest asset is stamina, was cut to 6-1 (from 14) by Paddy Power for September’s William Hill St Leger over two and half furlongs further.