First Cornerstone gave trainer Andrew Oliver his biggest success of his training career thus far as he took the Galileo Futurity Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday afternoon.
Despite only having four runners, the Futurity has been a pointer to Classic success over the last number of years and First Cornerstone was expected to give a bold showing for his new owners Team Valor who purchased the colt at the beginning of this week.
In the early stages of the Group 2 race it was the Aidan O’Brien trained pair of Kingston Jamaica and Flying The Flag who set the early fractions with Chris Hayes and First Cornerstone content to give the leaders a sighter in third place with Birdstone and Pat Smullen bringing up the rear of the field.
Flying The Flag and Joseph O’Brien were the first to kick for home and despite showing some greenness he looked to have made a race winning move. Chris Hayes had other ideas though and he kicked First Cornerstone after the leader and gradually wore down Flying The Flag to score by a comfortable 1/2 length from the O’Brien colt with Birdstone back in third and the pacesetting Kingston Jamaica in last place.
Speaking in the winners enclosure after the race a happy Andrew Oliver said ” It’s great when a plan comes together. On the basis of win at Tipperary I wanted to supplement for this. There was a change of ownership but the one thing I pressed for was to go for this race.
“We knew that he would handle the ground out there but he is such a good moving horse that he doesn’t really need it that soft. We thought Dawn Approach and Mars might come out an if they did we would be right in the mix.
“He got a great ride from Chris. The idea was to settle him and Chris produced him at the right time. He looks like he is improving. He is in the Beresford Stakes and the Racing Post Trophy so our options are open. It will be up to the new owners however as thet call the shots now.”