Hannibal Barca boosts Irish Derby credentials with impressive Gallinule success

Friday: Curragh

Joseph O'Brien may well be taking up Royal Ascot and Irish Derby options with the ex-Brian Meehan-trained Hannibal Barca, who made a slightly belated successful stable debut in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes.

It turned into quite a rough contest as the winner edged across slightly in the straight, causing his stable companion Seisai to come off a true line and shutting the door completely on Boundless Ocean who ended up an unlucky third.

But there could be no doubting the winner's superiority under Shane Crosse as he scored by a length from Lyrical Poetry.

O'Brien said: "He was a good two-year-old in Britain. We just had a little hold-up with him and we're delighted to get the season started nicely.

"I thought he did well. They didn't go mad in front and I thought it was set up for the horses that were close to the speed, and he hit the line well so I think it was a good enough performance.

"Coming here I didn't really know how far in trip we would be going but looking at that you would be going up in trip if anything. We would be tempted to take up his Irish Derby entry but he also has options at Ascot. I would imagine it will be one or the other."

Twomey delight

Trainer Paddy Twomey has his team in great form and promising colt Vellner made it third time lucky in the 1m2f maiden.

Ridden by Billy Lee, the son of Galileo Gold picked up strongly in the straight and readily held off the staying-on runner-up World Famous, with almost five lengths back to the increasingly disappointing favourite Waterville.

Twomey said: "He's been green in his behaviour. He was dreadful the first day, improved from his first run to his second run and I thought it would take a good horse to beat him tonight. He's a lovely horse and I'd say that's just the start with him."