1.01 drama as O’Brien colt improves Derby claims with latest Ballysax win | Horse racing news

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Piz Badile (near side) gets the better of Buckaroo in a thrilling Ballysax finish

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

By Mark Boylan

Saturday: Leopardstown

No one has dominated the Ballysax Stakes quite like Aidan O’Brien, but it was his sons Joseph and Donnacha whose proteges battled to a thrilling finish as the latter’s Piz Badile tenaciously dug in to overhaul Buckaroo.

It looked like the second had put the race to bed after leaving the winner inside the final furlong, with the pair getting rid of 100-30 favorite Duke De Sessa in third.


Result and replay of the Ballysax Stakes race


However, Piz Badile mounted a spirited rally under a determined Gavin Ryan to recover the deficit on Buckaroo’s 9-2 shot in the final strides.

The runner-up was tied at 1.01 for £5,438 in the race on Betfair, while the 4-1 winner hit a high of 100 for £12.

An attractive colt by Ulysses, Piz Badile has always been held in high regard by Donnacha O’Brien, who spoke lyrically of the Niarchos family after a maiden victory at Killarney last July, in which Buckaroo finished third.

A tilt at the Cazoo Derby is now firmly in the coach’s plans, although a return to Leopardstown for the Derrinstown Derby Trial on May 8 could come first.

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Donnacha O'Brien on Piz Badile:

Donnacha O’Brien on Piz Badile: “He has always been a beautiful horse”

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Paddy Power rated Piz Badile 16-1 (from 20) to become the first Ballysax winner since Harzand in 2016 to clinch Epsom’s climax, with Buckaroo now 25-1 (from 50).

“He’s always been a fine horse and has matured well over the winter,” said O’Brien, who won the Ballysax as a rider in 2018 aboard Nelson.

“He stays good and will go better over a mile and a half, but it was nice to see him speed up like that over ten furlongs. He’s a nice horse going forward.”

O’Brien added: “Joseph was about ten yards to my left watching the race. If I don’t win I’m happy when he wins and it’s the same the other way around.

“There was a bit of work to come here with this horse but I think of him a lot. I would have been disappointed if he wasn’t here. We came to try to find out if he is a Derby horse and I hope it could be. .

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Donnacha O'Brien on Piz Badile:

Donnacha O’Brien on Piz Badile: ‘We’ll probably go to Derrinstown then Epsom’

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

“We’ll probably go to Derrinstown and then Epsom, it’s been planned for a while. If that doesn’t suit we can always go straight there. He’s still a big horse and whatever he’s been in for a year I think even that he will be better at four years old.”

A rematch between the top two could be on the cards here next month as Joseph O’Brien also plots another run for Buckaroo ahead of the Summer Classics.

“We were very happy with his run after having to do it the hard way around the outside,” O’Brien said.

“It looked like he had done everything and the race was safe, but the winner just defended himself.

“I hope he will be a very solid horse for us. I think a return here for Derrinstown would seem the most logical route, he will want another race anyway, but we will discuss it with Sheikh Fahad and the ‘team.”

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