Thoroughbred Daily News
English Channel - California Sunset, by Deputy Minister - Buck Pond Farm
Buck Pond Farm - Versailles, Kentucky | 2011 | Entered Stud 2017 | 2019 Fee $6,500 LF

O’Brien Looking Ahead To Ascot


Aidan and Joseph O’Brien | Racing Post

At odds-on to collect a fifth straight trainers’ title at Royal Ascot, it goes without saying that Aidan O’Brien is loaded for next week’s Royal meeting. Four days out from the start of the meeting, the master of Ballydoyle ran through some of his leading contenders on Friday starting with his chief hope in the curtain raiser, the G1 Queen Anne S., in last-out G1 Lockinge S. fifth Le Brivido (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}).

“Le Brivido ran a very good race in the Lockinge, Ryan [Moore] just said that he got caught up in traffic at a bad time when the race was just getting going,” said O’Brien. “We felt he ran a very good race and we’ve been very happy with him since then. In an ideal world you’d just like nice ground for him–he’s got a lovely action, so as long it’s nice ground he’d be fine.”

Wednesday’s G1 Prince of Wales’s S. is shaping up as not only the race of the day but perhaps the meet, and O’Brien sends out Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who is unbeaten in three starts this year including the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup last out.

“Magical has done everything right so far this season and has won three races–we’re looking forward to running her,” said O’Brien of the 4-year-old filly. “Last year we were getting her ready for the Investec Oaks, but she had a setback which meant we just had to go gentle for a lot of the year with her. She just started to get it together before Ascot when she won the [G1] Fillies’ And Mares’ [S.], and then she went to America, where she was just beaten by Enable [in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf].”

After Hermosa (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) completed the Guineas double in the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas on May 26, there was talk of stepping her up in trip for Sunday’s G1 Prix de Diane, but she will instead stick to a mile for the G1 Coronation S.

“Obviously we were delighted with what she did at Newmarket, and to win the way she did again at The Curragh,” O’Brien said. “We’re looking forward to running her and decided to keep her at a mile for now.”

Last year’s G1 Middle Park S. winner Ten Sovereigns (Ire) (No Nay Never) will reappear for the first time since finishing fifth in the G1 2000 Guineas when he drops back in trip for the G1 Commonwealth Cup.

“We were delighted with Ten Sovereigns in the Guineas and we were always thinking in our mind that we would run him in the Guineas and then bring him back for this race,” said O’Brien. “We’ve been delighted with him since Newmarket and we’re looking forward to getting him back over six furlongs.

“He travelled so well in the Guineas–he ran a great race–but this was the trip he was very comfortable at last year, so you’d imagine he’ll be happy. He was still in front on his side in the Guineas until late on, having been up there all the way, so we were actually delighted with him in the Guineas.”

O’Brien holds the record for most wins in the G1 Gold Cup (seven) and this year he looks to the last two winners of the G1 St Leger, Capri (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Kew Gardens (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) to build on that.

“You can never be sure about a horse getting two and a half miles, but we always thought Kew Gardens had a chance of getting the trip,” he said. “You can’t ever be sure a horse will stay–it’s an extreme distance, and you never gallop them over that far, obviously–but we’re looking forward to running him in it.

“Kew Gardens has a very similar profile to Yeats. He was favourite for the Derby before he got injured, of course, and both of them ran in the Coronation Cup as a 4-year-old before going on to run in the Gold Cup. So we always thought Kew Gardens might be a horse for the Gold Cup.

“While they obviously have to have stamina, they won’t win it if they don’t have class–and Capri won an Irish Derby and Kew Gardens the St Leger, so hopefully they have that.”

O’Brien also took a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of Yeats (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells), who is responsible for four of his seven Gold Cup wins. Yeats completed the quartet 10 years ago.

“It’s amazing to think it’s 10 years since the last of his Gold Cups–time does fly,” said O’Brien of the horse who is immortalized with a statue in the Ascot parade ring. “He was an incredible horse, to win four Gold Cups was out of this world–for a horse to do that was incredible. Another great thing about him is that he’s now a very successful National Hunt stallion for Coolmore.”

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.