Aidan O'Brien: trainer of Douglas Macarthur and ChurchillPICTURE: Getty Images
Douglas surges into
2017 Classic picture
DOUGLAS MACARTHUR created such a positive impression in routing his rivals in the opening mile maiden at Leopardstown on Thursday that some bookmakers promoted him to the head of the betting for the 2017 Investec Derby at Epsom.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt is generally 16-1 for next year's Derby and shares favouritism alongside stablemate Churchill, who also won at Leopardstown on Thursday.
As a full brother to 2012 Oaks winner Was - and having cost 1,250,000gns as a yearling - big things were expected of Douglas Macarthur from the outset. However, he failed to meet expectations on debut at Leopardstown last month, trailing home last of six despite being sent off as the red-hot 2-5 favourite.
He was a completely different proposition on his second start, making all to destroy his rivals by five lengths and upwards, really impressing with the manner in which he powered clear in the straight.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "He is a colt with a big engine and we're very happy with that. The reason we let him roll on was because he was so green last time and needed to learn.
"His mind is still sleeping but we knew he had a massive engine as he was doing very good things at home. We were taken a little aback by how green he was the first day.
"We'll look at the Beresford or the Golden Fleece for him. I'd like to give him a little bit of time. He's still very babyish."
Douglas Macarthur possesses a largely middle-distance pedigree, but was also introduced into the market for the 2017 Qipco 2,000 Guineas, for which he is priced between 16-1 and 33-1.
O'Brien's good evening at Leopardstown continued when Promise To Be True - a full sister to Group 1-winning juvenile Maybe - built on her eyecatching debut success at Tipperary by landing the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes.
Promise To Be True, who was sent off as the 4-6 favourite, had a bit on her plate entering the straight but she quickened sharply between rivals and won with something in hand.
Promise To Be True is rated a general 16-1 chance to win the 2017 1,000 Guineas.
Churchill battles to narrow win
Churchill, second favourite for next year's Qipco 2,000 Guineas following his victory at Royal Ascot last month, completed a treble on the card for O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore in the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes.
However, the 2-5 market leader had to dig deep to repel runner-up Alexios Komnenos by a neck, with a further two lengths back to Currency Converter in third.
Having moved through to take the lead inside the final two furlongs, the favourite looked like running out a convincing winner but the Tommy Stack-trained Alexios Komnenos made a real fight of it, making relentless late progress from the rear and only narrowly failing to pull off the upset.
Despite the narrow margin of his victory, Churchill was trimmed to 8-1 (from 10) for the 2,000 Guineas by William Hill.