The Coolmore Ballydoyle axis landed a huge Grade 1 double in Arlington last night as Treasure Beach and Cape Blanco took back the Secretariat Stakes and Arlington Million back to Co. Tipperary.
Treasure Beach, who was last seen finishing third in the Grand Prix De Paris, was first to strike as he narrowly held off the dodged challenge of French raider Ziyarid, who had set the pace under Christophe Lemaire.
Always travelling well and sitting close to the pace big race jockey Colm O’Donoghue launched his effort turning for home and the son of Galileo dug deep and justified his short odds of 6-4 to give his trainer Aidan O’Brien his second win in the race having won in with Ciro back in 2000.
Speaking after the race a delighted O’Donoghue felt that there was plenty left in the tank should he have needed it “He wasn’t doing much,” said the rider.
“He was finding it quite easy in the home stretch. He just kept plugging on for me. He’s very adaptable and goes on any ground and conditions were perfect today.
“I thought I had it before we turned in but Ziyarid pulled more out,” added O’Donoghue. “He’s a horse who just does enough – when you go back to Epsom when he was up against a fabulous horse in Pour Moi.”
Just over an hour later it was the turn of Jamie Spencer and Cape Blanco to put the seal on the night as the pair landed their second American Grade 1 win in a row as the confirmed placing’s with Gio Ponti in the Arlington Million.
Cape Blanco was always to the fore in the 1m 2f race and despite been pushed along by Spencer three furlongs the son of Galileo showed an impressive turn of foot to put daylight between himself and his rivals to back his fourth Grade 1 of his career.
Not only was it an important win for Cape Blanco and his connections it was also a hugely important win for Jamie Spencer. It was in this race in 2004 when Spencer had one of his worst days in the saddle after his was disqualified after passing the post first in the Million on Powerscourt.
Spencer said “He’s a good tough horse and he’s brilliantly trained. All I did was do the steering.He is very lazy, he only does what you ask him but you know he will get you there and always is going to find plenty.
“Even in the last furlong I had a look around and he idled for a few strides. That is just the epitome of him.
“When it said seven minutes to post time, those were the longest seven minutes in a long time. He gave me torture at the start, he was just so fresh. He just wanted to get on with it.”