Disciples Twelve proves he can go higher
Paul O'Sullivan is all for giving newcomers a proper grounding on the training track and at the trials, but he said there was no point holding back debut winner Disciples Twelve after a limited build-up - the horse he labelled "a natural" delivering a dozen first-time owners a dream result.
Disciples Twelve is owned by a group of 12 medical professionals and they didn't have to wait long for a diagnosis of whether their first foray into racing would be a success - two excellent trials had put the writing on the wall and a comfortable win confirmed the fact their purchase has above-average ability. "We saw what we needed to see in those two trials here, and if we had trialled him again, we would have just been wasting a run," O'Sullivan said. "He trialled twice in New Zealand before we bought him; firstly behind some pretty good horses and then he won a trial. He did everything right in his two trials here. He was fit enough so we felt the time was right to put him in a race."
Douglas Whyte used gate 13 to advantage as he stuck close to the outside rail on Disciples Twelve, who was off the bit chasing through the early to middle stages - an indication the grey will appreciate more ground in future - before he showed his class late.
"One of the reasons Paul put him in a straight race is that you can strike a really weak race, which he did," Whyte said. "This horse should get up to a mile later on."
It was just the second time O'Sullivan has won with a Private Purchase Griffin on debut - and the first one was also ridden by Whyte: Moon Chaser, back in November 2008.
O'Sullivan rang up a double when Able Magic made in back-to-back wins, giving the trainer seven wins for the term.
Derek Leung Ka-chun threaded through gap in the run home after he got back further than expected and was forced to take inside runs.
"That was very brave, you can't doubt Derek Leung's nerve after that," the trainer said. "He gave him a really good ride. He probably got further back than we wanted, but he just rode him for luck, which was the thing to do, or he just would have stormed home for fifth."
Able Magic is now travelling in a much-more relaxed fashion, and O'Sullivan said it might be the time to step the horse beyond 1,400m.
"I think he can win again in this grade," he said. "He is the sort of horse that I think could adapt well to Happy Valley 1,650m - it's a bit easier there for them to get the trip."