While one nation stood to give One for Arthur a rapturous standing ovation following his Grand National exploits, another was busy looking to the future this past weekend.
Such is the relentless nature of the racing calendar the key Classic trials at Leopardstown and Naas could’ve slipped under the radar.
However, we’re not about to overlook the significance of what took place across the Irish Sea.
As we prepare to wave goodbye to another thrilling Jumps season the Flat is just starting to click into gear.
Here are the main storylines from the Classic Trials and Gladness Stakes…
How good can Garter be?
Orderofthegarter featured in our initial reflections on the Flat turf season and Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas Trial win further enhanced this likeable colt’s reputation.
Once in front, Seamie Heffernan’s mount wasn’t for catching and he went on to score by a handsome three and three-quarter lengths margin in front of stablemate Taj Mahal.
With Churchill trainer Aidan O’Brien’s main hope for the English Classic, it looks like Orderofthegarter will be aimed at the Irish equivalent.
Meanwhile, his Epsom Derby odds have been cut from 25s to 16/1 over the weekend.
We’ll be watching with interest wherever he goes.
Hydrangea slashed for 1,000 Guineas
O’Brien registered a quickfire double in Dublin with Hydrangea going on to score in the 1,000 Guineas Trial.
Having been placed in top-level company twice before, it wasn’t the biggest surprise to see her get off the mark in pattern races.
However, the 5/1 shot did cause a minor upset in a race where the Ballydoyle first string Promise To Be True could only finish a disappointing sixth.
And as such Hydrangea is now a 16/1 chance for the 1,000 Guineas having been as big as 25/1 throughout the winter.
Joseph’s Ballysax hero announces Derby claims
It was a red letter day for the O’Brien’s with son Joseph upstaging father Aidan when training the winner of the Ballysax Stakes.
JOB’s 16/1 shot Rekindling beat off O’Brien senior’s second, third and fourth place runners to take the Group 3 contest and has entered this year’s Epsom Derby market at 20/1.
Springs outshone by Diamond in the Gladness
The O’Brien’s may have been left celebrating on Saturday but Sunday’s Gladness Stakes saw a reversal in fortunes.
Alice Springs went off a warm 6/4 favourite for the big prize over seven furlongs but found Fozzy Stack’s Diamond Fields too good on the day.
Stack’s filly finished second in the 2016 running of the Sandringham at Royal Ascot and her trainer hinted she could be back for more at this year’s meeting.
However, the globe-trotting four-year-old could also be aimed at more contests across the pond. Watch this space.
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