21 August 2022

Blackbeard sees off Persian Force in Prix Morny

21 August 2022

Blackbeard got the better of Persian Force to lead home an Aidan O’Brien one-three in an all British and Irish-trained running of the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville.

The No Nay Never colt was the Ballydoyle number one following his victory in the Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly last month.

The 270,000 guineas buy was away well in the six-furlong Group One and setting the pace alongside Amy Murphy’s Manhattan Jungle in the early stages, as the five runners headed down the Normandy straight in two lines.

As the race developed Frankie Dettori appeared to be travelling smoothly on Richard Hannon’s Persian Force and was soon disputing matters with Blackbeard at the head of affairs. The pair drew clear of The Antarctic inside the final furlong, but it was the mount of Ryan Moore who pulled out extra when it mattered most to pick up the first prize.

The victory provided O’Brien with his fourth win in the two-year-old contest and his first since 2001 and in the aftermath Coral shortened the winner – like Group One-winning stablemate Little Big Bear a son of No Nay Never – to 16-1 from 25-1 for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.

Before that though, further Group races will be on the agenda for the speedy youngster, who has secured a guaranteed start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – a series of 82 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions at Keeneland in November.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien was winning the Prix Morny for the fourth time on Sunday (Donall Farmer/PA) (PA Wire)

“We’re very happy with him. He always feels like he has a little bit more, but he (Moore) was delighted with him. He’s a proper fast, early, mature two-year-old – he jumps and takes loads of racing,” said O’Brien.

“Blackbeard’s obviously very speed orientated, he might get further but he has a lot of speed. He would have the option to come back (to France) for the Group One (Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day) or the Middle Park (at Newmarket), so I think all those races are options for him.

“He has bags of speed, and being physically very well made, he’s built to go fast, like his father was.

“Keeneland’s turning course should suit him. I wasn’t worried about his behaviour before the race, as he’s used to doing that. He has a bit of an unusual attitude and I think that he likes to show off!

“The Antarctic also ran very well, he’s progressing with every race.”

The Breeders’ Cup could also come under consideration for the runner-up, with Hannon saying: “Persian ran a super race. We might have a look at the Prix de l’Abbaye or the Middle Park. He is a very good horse.

“If not, the Breeders’ Cup – he will run extremely well in that.”

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