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By Tom Peacock, Press Association Sport. Last Updated: 27/06/10 8:40pm
Cape Blanco (right) beats his stablemates.
Cape Blanco fulfilled his undoubted Classic potential to lead home a one-two-three for Aidan O'Brien in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
It came as no surprise O'Brien had already achieved the exact feat three years earlier, when Soldier Of Fortune came out top of a Ballydoyle trio at the Curragh, and this success took the trainer to five in a row in the race, and eight in all.
Cape Blanco had defeated the Investec Derby winner Workforce in the Dante Stakes but was a mystifying disappointment when turned out again in the French Derby.
Johnny Murtagh kept faith and picked the chestnut (7-2) over four other O'Brien runners in the race, headed by Midas Touch (9-2) and beaten Derby favourite Jan Vermeer (4-1), and those were the pair to chase him home.
Murtagh was sporting a plaster on his nose but it could have been so much worse for the Irishman as he had escaped a potentially catastrophic injury when his mount in the first race crashed into the rails and catapulted him into the turf.
O'Brien tactics dictated the entire mile and a half with first Bright Horizon charging into a clear lead before Midas Touch tried to steal away turning for home.
All this time Murtagh was confident, swooping in front with two furlongs to run and grinding out his half-length victory with trademark determination.
Just like in 2007, Mark Johnston was fourth, 3-1 favourite Monterosso replacing Boscobel. The Royal Ascot winner seemed to have an opportunity in the home straight but could not keep pace with the top three.
"I'm just delighted to be part of it," said O'Brien.
"The last run in France was the only blot on his copybook and we couldn't understand it.
"Maybe it was the travel, it was a hot day, but something upset him. He wasn't the horse in the paddock he was at York, or today.
"My son Joseph rides him out at home and we knew he was in good form. He showed the class and courage we know he has and he's back to where he was.
"It was a tough decision for Johnny to ride this horse. The other two ran stormers but he gave him a brilliant ride."
A fascinating rematch with Workforce at Ascot on July 24 now looks on the cards.
O'Brien added: "We thought before this race that if everything went well we would look at the King George. It's not definite, but certainly possible."
Adding to Fame And Glory's victory last year and Alamshar and Sinndar from his great partnership with John Oxx, this was Murtagh's fourth triumph.
Reflecting on his earlier incident, on the apparently unharmed Petronius Maximus in the six-furlong maiden, he said: "The horse ran green, he hit the rail and fell over.
"I was lying on the ground and it seemed as if everything was moving so I got up and was able to walk back. The doctors did a great job of patching me up. Thank God nothing serious happened."
Johnston said of Monterosso: "I have to be honest and say we didn't come to be fourth, we came wanting to win but at the same time there were no excuses.
"Frankie (Dettori) said it was either a bridge too far or, hopefully, it just came a little bit too soon and there's more to come later in the year."