O’Brien Talks Breeders’ Cup

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Aidan O’Brien | Getty

Aidan O’Brien was the most represented trainer among the Breeders’ Cup pre-entries when they were announced on Wednesday, and the trainer talked about some of his chances on Thursday including dual Guineas winner Churchill (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who has first preference in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic on the dirt and second preference in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile on the turf.

“There is a big chance Churchill will go for the Classic. He seems to have come out of Ascot very well,” said O’Brien of the colt’s third-place effort in last weekend’s G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. “Ryan [Moore] felt he never got into top gear, but he went to the line very strong. He seems to have come out the race well and we look forward to what is going to happen.”

O’Brien has not been shy about trying the Classic in the past and he looks for his first win in the $6-million race, having suffered narrow defeats with the likes of Giant’s Causeway and Declaration of War.

“He is very like Giant’s Causeway,” the trainer said of Churchill. “He is a miler that you would like to think will get a mile and a quarter. He is big and powerful, like those dirt horses.”

O’Brien also has last-out G3 Diamond S. winner War Decree (War Front) entered in the Classic.

O’Brien said of his juvenile race contenders, “Happily had a little bit of a blip before her last run [when scratched from the Fillies’ Mile], but she seems to be fine now. After a few days she was fine and all her bloods seem to be fine now. We were delighted with her on Arc day.”

September had a nice run in the Fillies’ Mile,” he said. “She ran a very good race [to be beaten a nose for second], but she didn’t get a clear run. She is by Deep Impact and I think they handle quicker ground. She had a few lesser runs in between, but her last run she was coming back after a little break and the ground was a little slower as well.”

Mendelssohn and US Navy Flag are in both races [Juvenile Turf and Juvenile],” O’Brien said. “US Navy Flag would have the option of either and he could go on to the dirt. Mendelssohn would not have the experience of him and would probably go on the grass, but I am not sure which way yet.”

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