Sunday 22 October 2017

Flag brings O'Brien closer to record

Aidan O'Brien Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan O'Brien Photo: Sportsfile

Aidan O'Brien crept ever closer to Bobby Frankel's record of 25 Group/Grade One wins in a year as US Navy Flag sprang a minor surprise in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

After stablemate Clemmie had earlier landed the Cheveley Park Stakes, O'Brien fielded four in the colts' Group One, headed by Phoenix Stakes scorer Sioux Nation, who was sent off an 11-2 chance.

However, Ryan Moore's mount never looked like taking a hand in the finish as 10-1 shot US Navy Flag kicked on again for Seamie Heffernan after racing prominently through the early stages.

Only stablemate Fleet Review (25-1) got within striking distance, eventually going down by half a length, with Mark Johnston's Cardsharp (14-1) a further two and a quarter lengths back in third.

US Navy Flag's success represented O'Brien's 20th victory at the highest level this term and the War Front colt could get another shot at Group One glory back at Newmarket next month.

"This horse won very easily the last day," said O'Brien. "He is a very solid horse and he is a brother to Roly Poly. He is out of a Galileo mare."

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