Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aiding O'Brien! Powerscourt Can Revive Fortunes for Irishman

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aiding O'Brien! Powerscourt Can Revive Fortunes for Irishman

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

POWERSCOURT can put the smile back on Aidan O'Brien's face in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Ascot tomorrow.

The master of Ballydoyle has ridden a magic carpet to the top of his profession since Harbour Master gave him his first success at the royal meeting in 1997, but recent events have provided a reminder that success can never be taken for granted where delicate thoroughbreds are concerned.

O'Brien absorbed one of the heaviest blows of his career when the heavily backed One Cool Cat flopped in the 2,000 Guineas last month and has since seen a string of his stable stars fail to deliver in top races right across Europe.

A late injury, which deprived the unbeaten Yeats of his place in the Derby field, capped one of the most turbulent spells in the career of the likeable Irishman, but Powerscourt looks capable of righting the Ballydoyle ship in what could be the best race of the entire week.

Having spent much of last year in the shadow of some of his stablemates, this Sadler's Wells colt has emerged as a real force for the top middle-distance contests.

A narrow defeat of the subsequent St Leger winner Brian Boru in York's Great Voltigeur Stakes brought him to the attention of British racegoers last August, while a battling third in Vinnie Roe's Irish St Leger suggested he had the makings of a high-class stayer for 2004.

However, some horses develop more speed as they reach maturity and Powerscourt falls into that category after bolting up over 10 furlongs in last month's Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Admittedly, that race wasn't up to its usual standard once Sulamani was withdrawn, but Powerscourt galloped his five rivals senseless in most impressive style to prove beyond doubt that he deserves his chance against Rakti and Sulamani tomorrow. …

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