With 32 Irish Classics and 25 English Classics on his CV, it’s easy to see why most horseracing trainers walk in the shadow of Aidan O’Brien yet, despite the magnitude of his success, the Master of Ballydoyle is always happy to share his thoughts about the horses he expects to star in the forthcoming Flat-Season.
Last year’s Falmouth Stakes and Matron Stakes winner is rated 118, and it will be no surprise if she proves very hard to best in all the top mile-races for the fairer-sex this season. However, she is also likely to be tried against the boys, and could prove a real handful granted her preferred fast-ground. She was only second on her seasonal debut but, reported to be much heavier than ideal for her comeback, she will no doubt be at her peak for her group-1 targets.
Last season’s Cheveley Park Stakes winner is another expected to be seen at her best on fast ground, and is considered to have thrived over the winter. Likely to start off in the Nell Gwyn with an aim of seeing whether connections think she’ll stay a mile and, if they think she will, she could head to the 1,000 Guineas. However, it would be no surprise if she makes her mark at sprint-distances.
Last season’s Coventry Stakes winner is being aimed at the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, but O’Brien also thinks he could be a genuine Champion Sprinter in the making. He’s certainly built like a sprinter, so it would be no surprise if he reverts to 6-furlongs for something like the Commonwealth Cup, and later the July Cup.
The Champion two-year-old could be one of the best that Aidan O’Brien has ever had, and has physically always looked like he’d make a better three-year-old. The 2,000 Guineas looks his to lose, and all the top-mile races are likely to be on his agenda after that, with O’Brien far from convinced that he’ll stay the mile-and-a-half of the Derby
Last season’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Turf winner again failed to make much of an impact in the Sheema Classic in March, but the soft ground was all against him there. The Coronation Cup and Hardwicke Stakes are early-season targets, before he tries for back-to-back wins in the King George and Breeder Cup.
It’s brilliant to see last year’s 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner kept in training and, though she had the speed to win over a straight-mile last season, her targets are likely to be the top mile-and-a-quarter races, before a possible crack at the Arc.
ORDER OF ST GEORGE
Last year’s Ascot Gold Cup winner will be aimed at a defence of his crown but, after finishing third in last year’s Arc, he could also take in plenty of the top mile-and-a-half when there’s cut in the ground.
Last season’s Fillies’ Mile winner is the stable’s big-hope for the 1,000 Guineas, and will head there without a prep-race. However, if she finds the mile an inadequate trip, she may be stepped-up to a mile-and-a-quarter for future assignments.
Another of last season’s star-fillies to be kept in training, and she looks an ideal candidate for races like the Coronation Cup and later a second attempt to win the Yorkshire Oaks.