America On the Books for Al Riffa, Targets Grade One Glory in New York

Al Riffa (second left) in the G1 Prix Ganay Scoop Dyga

Joseph O'Brien has laid out an adventure in America for juvenile Group 1-winner Al Riffa (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), the target being the GI Manhattan S. in New York on June 8, in a path eventually routing to the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

After having his sophomore season disrupted by injury, Al Riffa resurfaced in the G1 Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp and was only beaten by three-quarters of a length in a wild scramble on the wire. O'Brien admits his charge's size is something of a concern, and that the Saratoga track might not suit him, but the prize money makes it a shot worth taking.

“He ran really well in France, his first run back. He was coming there but got a bit tired and the race didn't set up nicely for him,” O'Brien said.

“He actually gets a 7lb allowance in America for not winning a Group race last year, so the conditions of the race suit him very well and it's a lot of money. The worry is he's a big horse and the track might not suit, but it's a $2-million race. His other options were the Tattersalls Gold Cup against Auguste Rodin or Royal Ascot and meet whatever there.”

He added, “I think [Al Riffa]'s going to stay well and we are kind of dreaming he may be an Arc horse, but the aim is to win a Group One first.”

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