MARTYN MEADE admitted he thought Lone Eagle was about to provide him with a first Classic win before he was caught close home by Hurricane Lane in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
Frankie Dettori sent Lone Eagle clear early in the straight on Saturday, June 26 and had everything else in trouble with a furlong to run.
To Hurricane Lane’s credit, though, he picked up well to win by a neck in a thrilling finish at The Currach Racecourse in Kildare.
“It was such a shame — I thought we had it until those dying last few strides,” said Meade.
“I was thrilled with his run — I thought he ran an absolute blinder. I don’t want to make excuses, but maybe if it was softer ground it might have slowed the others up and made it harder to make ground up.
“I did think a furlong out we were on, but then of course it started to change. He ran a fantastic race, though. I was really pleased with him.
“What he proved was he is a Group One colt, which I’ve believed all along, but nobody else seemed to. Hopefully we can win a Group One before the end of the year.”
Mr Meade is now looking ahead to next week’s race, in France, and those further down the line.
“The Grand Prix de Paris on July 14 would look the obvious race, but my one worry about that is it does come a little quick,” he said.
“He’s a laid-back horse, and sometimes they can fool you into thinking they are over their races, and then you end up wishing you hadn’t done it. It is a possibility, though.
“There’s the Juddmonte International at York, and I’ve always thought he was a St Leger horse, but whether he wants to go out in trip I’m not sure — we might bring him back a bit.
“Hurricane Lane could go for the Leger as well, and I’m not sure we’d want to meet him again.
“Doncaster and soft ground is appealing, and it does give us plenty of time. He did seem to show a bit of speed, though.
“Those are his options anyway, so we’ll see where he ends up.”