Lost shoes may have compromised his chances in the Epsom Derby three weeks ago, but there were no such hiccups this time around as Godolphin’s Hurricane Lane lived up to his name and stormed home to win an absolutely thrilling renewal of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on Saturday.
It appeared that Frankie Dettori would steal victory in the two century-old race as he went for home two furlongs out aboard Lone Eagle. However, jockey William Buick and Hurricane Lane were ominously closing the gap at The Curragh and eventually got up on the line to claim the win.
There were a few anxious moments for the Godolphin team and winning trainer Charlie Appleby as a stewards’ inquiry followed the finish as Hurricane Lane drifted in sharply to cause some interference to runners in his wake.
But to Appleby’s relief, the placings stood and enabled him to complete a nice piece of racing history with having earlier saddled Adayar to victory in the Epsom Derby on June 4.
For Buick it was a second success in the Irish Classic following Jack Hobbs in 2015, a horse that was jointly owned by Godolphin and Jim Bolger.
A son of Frankel, Hurricane Lane finished third behind stablemate Adayar at Epsom.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who created the Godolphin stable in 1992, won the Irish Derby in 1988 in his famous maroon silks with Old Vic, a horse that was trained by the late, great Henry Cecil and ridden by Steve Cauthen.
Appleby paid tribute to Shaikh Mohammed, who has been the driving force behind Godolphin’s worldwide conquests, when he said on television: “It’s great for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed who has supported me and the team so strongly. People ask if there’s pressure, but there’s not. He’s a great man and he knows everyone is trying their best.”
Commenting on Hurricane Lane, Appleby added: “As you saw in the paddock, he’s a big, scopey individual. Going into the winter we might have felt we didn’t have the sharpest two-year-olds, but we were hopeful they were going to be a nice bunch of three-year-olds and so far they’re proving that.”
The big disappointment of the race was the favourite, High Definition, who finished second last after failing to make any headway from his position at the back of the 11-horse field.
The Irish Derby was the culmination of a great weekend’s racing sponsored by Dubai Duty Free that is an annual sporting highlight in the Emerald Isle.