Daddy Long Legs, a very impressive winner of the Group 2 UAE Derby at Meydan on World Cup Night in Dubai, could well represent Aidan O’Brien’s best ever chance of winning the Kentucky Derby after oozing class in his defeat French raider Yang Tse Kiang on the artificial Tapeta surface, writes Elliot Slater.
At least as important as pocketing the more than $1 million winner’s prize, O’Brien and the Ballydoyle triumvirate who own the three-year-old saw him relish the surface and will hope he proves equally effective when he journeys to the US for the ‘Run for the Roses’, the first leg of the American triple Crown. Third placed Wrote, a stable companion of the winner, also shaped very well and will likely join Daddy Long Legs on the flight to Kentucky.
Winner of last season’s Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in September where he beat Tenth Star by nearly four-lengths, the Colm O’Donoghue-ridden winner seems to have done very well over the winter since ending last term finishing tailed off in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, a contest that came at the end of a long season in Europe and failed to show him in a true light. Sent off heavily fancied on horse racing betting tips with decent odds of 7/1 and the apparent second string for the yard behind Wrote (11/4f), Daddy Long Legs was always close to the pace before surging into the lead approaching the final quarter mile. From that point on O’Brien’s Scat Daddy colt never looked like being caught despite both the runner-up and third keeping on well to grab the minor honours.
Bookmakers cut Daddy Long Legs to best racing odds of 12/1 ante-post third favourite for the Kentucky Derby following his Dubai win, behind the current first choice Union Rags (7/2), beaten just a head in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and subsequently successful at Gulfstream in February.