Tuesday 24 January 2017

Minding leads O'Brien's Oaks battalion

Published 19/05/2016 | 02:30

O’Brien has also put Bondi Beach and Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup, but there are no other Irish entries among the 15 left standing (PA)
O’Brien has also put Bondi Beach and Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup, but there are no other Irish entries among the 15 left standing (PA)

The incredible depth to Aidan O'Brien's battalion of three-year-old fillies is illustrated by his sensational 1,000 Guineas heroine Minding spearheading a 10-strong Ballydoyle entry in the Investec Oaks.

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In all, just 24 potential starters have been left in the Epsom Classic, with 50pc of the entry Irish-based.

Jim Bolger's Turret Rocks and Siamsaiocht are the other potential raiders, but Minding is likely to be the one charged with leading O'Brien's quest to secure a third triumph in the Group One since 2012 and his sixth in all.

The brilliant winner of the fillies' Classic at Newmarket is as short as 1/2 favourite to double up in the £450,000 12-furlong event on June 3, while Found is one of three that O'Brien has in the Coronation Cup a day later.

Last year's Breeders' Cup Turf conqueror of Golden Horn is due to take in Sunday's Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, before heading for the Epsom Group One or Royal Ascot.

O'Brien has also put Bondi Beach and Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup, but there are no other Irish entries among the 15 left standing.

Meanwhile, Johnny Murtagh and Connor King were exonerated in a Turf Club inquiry into the running and riding of Eddystone Rock at Limerick last month. Eddystone Rock, which has since won well when sent off favourite at Wexford, emerged from a pocket at Limerick to flash home late to be third under relatively tender handling.

The matter was referred to Turf Club headquarters due to Murtagh's representative on the day being unable to confirm the riding instructions.

Murtagh was cautioned for that oversight and ordered to pay €150 toward costs, but he and King were otherwise cleared. Other hearings resulted in Mikey O'Connor having his three-month ban for testing positive for a beta-blocker suspended for three months, while Shane Kelly's two-year ban after testing positive for cocaine will be suspended from July 1.

Both reprieves are conditional on the riders continuing to test clean.

Liam Lennon's March Down Royal winner Pointview Gale was disqualified after testing positive for the pain killer phenylbutazone, but Lennon was cleared on the basis that it was deemed an accidental contamination of feed.

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