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Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 16:10 UK

Frozen Fire takes Irish Derby win

Seamus Heffernan salutes the crowd after riding Frozen Fire to victory at The Curragh
Seamus Heffernan also won the race on Soldier of Fortune last year

Aidan O'Brien became the first trainer to win the Irish Derby three years in a row after Frozen Fire claimed a surprise win at The Curragh on Sunday.

Jockey Seamus Heffernan timed his run to perfection as the 16-1 chance came through the field with a furlong to go.

After a stewards' inquiry, favourite Tartan Bearer was promoted to third place with Casual Conquest in second.

O'Brien's victory was his sixth in the race, bringing him level with legendary namesake Vincent O'Brien.

"It's unbelievable," said Aiden O'Brien, who won the race with Dylan Thomas in 2006 and Soldier Of Fortune last year.

"We always thought this horse had a lot of class and Seamus gave him a very good ride.

"This is down to a lot of people - it's been a privilege to have been involved in it.

"Seamus has worked very hard and is a great judge of a horse. Nobody deserves it more than Seamus and I couldn't be happier for him.

"This is marvellous. The race was a full, solid mile-and-a-half and there are no excuses.

"All of ours have run great races, but I think Alessandro Volta got stage-fright when he turned into the straight - he wouldn't have seen a crowd like that in front of him before.

"The Curragh is probably the greatest racecourse in the world as it is a very fair track and really tests a horse."

Hindu Kush made most of the early running as the genuine contenders bided their time, and Johnny Murtagh's Alessandro Volta took over at the head of the pack as the race began to enter the final stages.

It looked to be a straight foot race between even-money favourite Tartan Bearer, Alessandro Volta and Curtain Call, but Murtagh's mount suddenly veered left.

Curtain Call seemed to be the worst affected and Frozen Fire was in the right place at the right time to seize control of the race and surge to a two-length victory.

"Aiden always trains them for the big day and this is a big day," said Heffernan.

"I was riding him to try to get placed and he is a bit weak but I was happy to get a lead and follow some of the fancied ones.

"It's unbelievable to win this two years in a row - it's a dream."

The stewards demoted Alessandro Volta from third place after the race.

Ante-post favourite New Approach was withdrawn on the morning of the race with a bruised foot, denying Jim-Bolger's horse the chance to become the first to complete the English-Irish Derby double since 2002.

Irish Derby result:

1. Frozen Fire (J A Heffernan) 16-1
2. Casual Conquest 4-1
3. Tartan Bearer Evens fav
4. Curtain Call 8-1

11 ran

see also
New Approach targets Derby double
08 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
New Approach wins Derby thriller
07 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Bolger dismisses Derby criticism
02 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing

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