Justify's City Of Troy Tops 2YO Classification

Dewhurst winner City Of Troy | Racingfotos.com


Aidan O'Brien hailed City Of Troy as the most exciting two-year-old he's trained as the son of Justify was named Europe's champion juvenile for 2023 when the classification was released on Tuesday. He becomes the 13th European champion two-year-old to have been trained by O'Brien, with only Johannesburg (126) achieving a higher rating among the previous 12.

A Coolmore homebred out of the G1 Fillies' Mile winner Together Forever (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), City Of Troy went unbeaten in three starts as a two-year-old, culminating with a dominant display when winning the G1 Dewhurst S. at Newmarket by three and a half lengths. It was that effort which earned him his rating of 125, five pounds clear of the next best juvenile, G1 Phoenix S. winner Bucanero Fuerte (GB) (Wootton Bassett {GB}).

“We've probably never had a horse as exciting as City Of Troy as a two-year-old,” said O'Brien. “I suppose from the first time he ran he looked like he was something different. What makes him different is the tempo he's able to go in a race and then he just kicks into another gear at halfway.”

Noting the differences between City Of Troy and Johannesburg, O'Brien added, “Johannesburg was more of a two-year-old. He was a small horse, but City Of Troy is a bigger horse with a massive, long stride. He looks like he'll have no problem going up in distance and he's a horse who should go forward from two to three.”

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) handicapper Mark Bird said of the champion juvenile, “City Of Troy proved himself the cream of the two-year-old crop in Europe with three impressive performances between July and October. His rating of 125 places him alongside high-class horses such as Zafonic and Fasliyev at the same stage of their careers and behind only four-time Group 1-winning juvenile Johannesburg (126) among his own stable's illustrious roll call of European champion two-year-olds.”

Two of the top four colts were trained at Ballydoyle by O'Brien. Henry Longfellow (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) was just behind Adrian Murray's Bucanero Fuerte with a rating of 119 having emulated City Of Troy by winning each of his three starts as a two-year-old, including an impressive five-length victory in the G1 National S. at the Curragh. He looks another leading Classic contender for his stable as a three-year-old, with a trip to France reportedly first on the agenda.

O'Brien said, “Obviously it can all change, but we're thinking of starting City Of Troy at Newmarket [in the G1 2000 Guineas] and we're thinking of maybe starting Henry Longfellow in France [in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains].”

G1 Prix Morny and G1 Middle Park S. winner Vandeek (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) was ranked joint-third with Henry Longfellow. He also emerged as the best of the British-based two-year-olds ahead of three other top-level winners, namely Rosallion (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}), who earned a rating of 117 for his victory in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp; Fallen Angel (GB) (Too Darn Hot {GB}), rated 116 after her win in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. at the Curragh; and Ancient Wisdom (Fr) (Dubawi {Ire}), who was awarded a rating of 115 after his wins in the G3 Autumn S. at Newmarket and G1 Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

Fallen Angel was rated highest of all juvenile fillies trained in Britain, but she had to settle for the runner-up spot in Europe behind the 118-rated Opera Singer (Justify), the emphatic winner of the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac on whom O'Brien also issued a positive bulletin ahead of her three-year-old campaign.

“Opera Singer was a filly who improved with every run as the year went on and she got better as she went up in trip,” said O'Brien. “We were very happy with her last two runs and we haven't seen the best of her at all. She's done well physically and we're thinking she'll probably start in the G1 1000 Guineas.”

The 114-rated Ramatuelle, another daughter of Justify, was the standout two-year-old of either sex in France having won three of her first four starts for Christopher Head, including the G2 Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly by four lengths, before being narrowly beaten by Vandeek when stepping up to the top level in the Prix Morny at Deauville. The 113-rated Vespertilio (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}), runner-up to Fallen Angel in the Moyglare, and G1 Fillies' Mile winner Ylang Ylang (GB) (Frankel {GB}), rated 112, were the pick of the other juvenile fillies in Europe.

The Breeders' Cup was a happy hunting ground for the European raiders, with Unquestionable (Fr) (Wootton Bassett) and Big Evs (Ire) (Blue Point) both achieving notable ratings in winning the G1 Juvenile Turf and G1 Juvenile Turf Sprint respectively. With a rating of 114, Unquestionable shares joint-ninth with Dewhurst runner-up Alyanaabi (Ire) (Too Darn Hot) and Ramatuelle, while Big Evs sits just outside the top ten on 113, together with G2 Champagne S. winner Iberian (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), G1 Criterium International hero Sunway (Fr) (Galiway {GB}) and Vespertilio.

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