Curragh round-up: Anthony Van Dyck 10-1 for Guineas and Derby after Futurity win
Anthony Van Dyck was cut to 10-1 (from 16) for the Investec Derby by Paddy Power after extending his winning sequence to three in the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, when the further he went the better he looked.
The son of Galileo, sent off 4-6 favourite, kept on strongly to score by half a length under Ryan Moore, giving trainer Aidan O'Brien – who continues to have no problems winning domestic races, in contrast to his fortunes overseas this season – a 12th success in the Group 2 event.
Stablemates Christmas and Mohawk also ran well to finish second and third for the trainer.
O'Brien's more recent winners of the race include subsequent Classic heroes Gleneagles and Churchill, but whereas that pair flourished over a mile, Anthony Van Dyck gave a very strong impression that middle distances could suit him best next year.
The biggest price available for the Derby on Sunday night was 14-1, while he was generally cut to 10-1 for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas – challenging for second favouritism behind Calyx.
O'Brien said: "He should have learned a good bit from that. He was a bit lazy in the middle part of the race but did it well in the last furlong.
"He won over a mile and has now won two Group races over seven furlongs, and we've always thought of him as a colt who should get middle distances next season."
Like many of O'Brien's Futurity winners, Anthony Van Dyck will return to the Curragh next month for the Group 1 Goffs National Stakes.
"That's the plan, and Christmas and Mohawk will also go for the same race," added O'Brien.
Racing Post two-year-old handicapper Simon Turner's view
Anthony Van Dyck won the Futurity in the style of a colt with more to offer but, as a winning Racing Post Rating of 111+ reflects, this wasn't a vintage renewal of the Group 2.
Stablemates Christmas (110) and Mohawk (104) and once-raced maiden Could Be King (103) have all been credited with significant improvement.
With the front four well clear, and the time coming out three lengths quicker than Skitter Scatter's (109) Debutante Stakes win, there are sound reasons for thinking the Futurity will prove at least as good. However, it will take time for the true worth of the form to become clear.
What is not in doubt is Anthony Van Dyck is a quality colt well worthy of his Group 1 entries.
The Ballydoyle maestro had earlier run Zagitova, Hermosa and Peach Tree in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes, but Zagitova could only muster third place.
Skitter Skatter, by far the most experienced filly in the field and already a Group-race winner, travelled smoothly under Ronan Whelan before putting the race to bed in the final furlong to score by two and a quarter lengths.
The success caused few ripples in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas market with Paddy Power leaving her unchanged at 33-1.
Patrick Prendergast, who trains the daughter of Scat Daddy for Sonia Rogers and her son Anthony, said: "I'm delighted. This filly is a pro and really knows her job.
"I was very worried about the ground when the rain came but she's so honest – she's all guts and tries to do too much.
"She makes training very easy as she's very sound and easy to deal with. She deserves her place in the Moyglare Stakes. If it came up heavy for that race I'd be worried again, but Ronan thinks because of her attitude and courage she'll handle any ground."
Bandiuc Eile, a maiden having her third start, belied her odds of 50-1 by finishing second.
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