O'Brien Reveals Plans for French Classics


Toy on the Ballydoyle gallops | racingphotos.com


ROSEGREEN, Ireland–He may have drawn a blank in the opening Classics of the season at Newmarket but Aidan O'Brien is taking dead aim at ParisLongchamp on Sunday and nominated Toy (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) to be on course for the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches while The Acropolis (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) will be the sole Ballydoyle representative in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains on the same afternoon.

Toy, a sister to seven black-type horses, including 2,000 Guineas winner Gleneagles (Ire), got off the mark at the third attempt over seven furlongs at Cork last month but O'Brien is of the opinion that she will be seen to best effect when stepping up to a mile or even ten furlongs in time.

The Acropolis won just one of his eight starts as a juvenile but created a big impression on his return when chasing home Dr Zempf (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) in the 2000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last month.

Speaking ahead of his two-pronged attack on ParisLongchamp, O'Brien said, “We are going to aim The Acropolis for the [French] 2000 Guineas and Toy will run in the 1,000 Guineas.

“We thought the world of The Acropolis last year but I couldn't get him to do anything but we were delighted by his return at Leopardstown. He ran home well to finish second in the 2000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown. I don't  think we'll over-race him this year. Maybe we over-raced him a little last year, so it will be interesting to see what he does at the weekend. He's a horse with plenty of speed so he shouldn't have any problem around Longchamp.”

On Toy, he added, “Toy is from a fantastic family. They are not slow and, while it looks like she will get the mile quite well, I think she could be even better over ten furlongs. I thought she could be a French Guineas filly and then she might develop into a Diane filly. We raced her over seven furlongs and from a bad draw purposefully at Cork, just to see would she be able to do it with a view towards the French Guineas, and I thought she did it well. It will be interesting to see how she gets on.

“I'm not sure if she'd get a mile and a half. I think she'll get 10 furlongs alright, but a mile and a half, I'm not sure. You need a filly that will go along at a good gallop and one who can quicken–it's a tough race.”

It is also a big week for the sprinting fraternity at Ballydoyle. Commonwealth Cup-bound colts King Of Bavaria (Ire) (No Nay Never), Cadamosto (Ire) (No Nay Never) and New York City (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) will advertise their Royal Ascot claims this week with O'Brien keen to keep the speedsters apart.

He said, “There are three sprint races this week and I think we will divide King Of Bavaria, Cadamosto and New York City up in each. If the ground looked like it was going to come up slow at Naas we could look at running Cadamosto there and send the other two to England. I'd like Ryan to ride all three of them. They are all in the mix for the Commonwealth Cup.”


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