Anthony Van Dyck gives Ballydoyle a lift after Guineas hope Goddess flops
It was certainly a mixed evening for Ballydoyle at Leopardstown. The Jockey Club of Turkey Silver Flash Stakes was supposed to be a lap of honour for Qipco 1,000 Guineas favourite Goddess but the reality proved quite different as her performance in finishing a very flat last of six under Ryan Moore raised more questions about the health of some Ballydoyle inmates.
These questions had already been raised by the withdrawal of Kew Gardens from Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot as well as performances such as that of Magic Wand in last Saturday's Irish Oaks.
The performance of Goddess was in stark contrast to that of Anthony Van Dyck half an hour later as he powered away with the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes, staying on really well and drawing clear in the final furlong for Moore to beat market rival Bold Approach by four and three-quarter lengths.
O'Brien said of his winner: “We always thought he would get a mile well, as he did in Killarney, but when you see him doing that over seven you know he's a smart colt. He'll probably come back for the Futurity and the National Stakes and I wouldn't see any need at the moment to step him back up in trip.”
The son of Galileo was introduced at 14-1 for the Investec Derby by BoyleSports.
On the disappointing performance of Goddess, O'Brien added: “We have a little bit of a thing around the place, but we wouldn't be running them if we didn't think they were fine – but when something like that is around, some will disappoint and that's the way it is.
"We could stop racing horses altogether and learn nothing. It affects some and doesn't affect others and the filly just didn't turn up today. She wasn't distressed or anything and hopefully she will leave that behind her.”
Almost forgotten with the performance of Goddess was the victory of the Patrick Prendergast-trained Skitter Scatter under Ronan Whelan, who battled on well to beat Moravia by a length and a half.
The level of expectation was summed up by Prendergast, who said: “If you told me I was going to have a winner today I would have said it would be in the claimer! I was sulking after the claimer but by God I feel good now!