White Birch on song in Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh

White Birch claimed a first Group One victory ahead of Auguste Rodin in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Third behind the reopposing Auguste Rodin in the Derby last year, John Joseph Murphy’s grey made a successful start to his four-year-old campaign in the Group Three Alleged Stakes in April before following up over the same course and distance at Group Two level in the Mooresbridge three weeks ago.

Dual Derby hero Auguste Rodin was the marginal favourite at 11-10 as he looked to bounce back from a disappointing run in Dubai, but while he moved menacingly into it in the straight, White Birch (15-8) was going even better in his slipstream in the hands of a motionless Colin Keane.

Once asked to extend, the grey showed smart acceleration to put three lengths between himself and Auguste Rodin, with Crypto Force a further eight lengths behind in third.

“That couldn’t have gone better. We got behind the two we wanted to be behind (early),” said Keane.

“Ryan (Moore, on Auguste Rodin) brought us as far as we could then we just quickened up well.

“He cantered into it. He has plenty of pace but would have no bother going a bit further.

“He has matured massively from three to four.”

Bookies cut White Birch to 7/1 from 25/1 for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, while he is 8/1 from 20/1 for the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

George Murphy, assistant to his father, said: “We’ve been waiting a long time for one as good as him. He’s a bit more chilled out this year and has progressed from race to race.

“People thought last year when he was a bit slow away from the gates a few times and he was coming from off the pace that he was more of a stayer, but he’s getting to show what he can do now.

“He’s got form on very quick ground as well, so he seems to handle them all. Colin was very good on him, as he always is, and gave him a super ride. He’s a master of his trade.

“We’ll enjoy today and make a plan from here.”


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