Darwin returns to form at Fairyhouse

Darwin (USA) returned to form with a vengeance in the LR Belgrave Stakes (1200m) at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

The strapping son of Vinery shuttler Big Brown didn’t land a blow in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month but is back on track after repelling the fast finish of class sprinter Russian Soul on home turf in Ireland.  The runner-up was appearing for the first time since a trip to Dubai that netted the G3 Al Shindagha Sprint at Meydan

Darwin (4c Big Brown – Cool Ghoul by Silver Ghost) has been a headline horse since making $1.30 million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2YO Sale in March 2012.  He won a Belmont Park maiden on debut the following October and was then transferred to trainer Aidan O’Brien for a three year-old campaign out of Ballydoyle.

He graduated to a convincing Group 3 victory in The Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh last July defeating Gordon Lord Byron whose subsequent travels earned a Group 1 in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill.

Darwin was backed into a $3 favourite for the Belgrave Stakes and winning Joseph O’Brien suggested he’s ready for a return to better company.  “I probably got to the front too soon but I needed to ride him positively.  I don’t know how high he can go but he’s entitled to go back into Group race.”

Aidan O’Brien has nominated Darwin for the G1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood later this month but he will probably be reserved for the G3 Phoenix Sprint at the Curragh or G3 Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown in August.

Vinery will stand Big Brown for a $16,500 (inc gst) fee this year.