Sunday 24 September 2017

Obliterator and War Command need dry week for Guineas run

Trainer Ger Lyons
Trainer Ger Lyons

Thomas Kelly

IF the ground at the Curragh does not dry out ahead of Saturday's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas, the opposition to favourite Kingman is set to dry up.

Conditions at Headquarters are currently yielding to soft after the track was hit by over 15 millimetres of rain on Sunday, and that is unlikely to entice a big field.

Ger Lyons is adopting a wait-and-see policy with his highly regarded Obliterator, which could head to France if the going doesn't improve.

Winner of his sole juvenile start and second to True Story at Newmarket on his seasonal return, the son of Oratorio has shown Lyons a preference for decent ground which means his campaign will be dictated by conditions.

"Plan B is the French Derby and Plan C would be straight to Royal Ascot," Lyons said.

"If there's good in the description we'd be happy to let him take his chance, but if it is as it is now we'd probably give it a swerve and go for the Prix du Jockey Club if it's good there.

"He's very ground dependent, he has to have it good, there's no point in running him otherwise. He's a horse I like a lot and if he did run this weekend I think he'd go there with a brave shout, but I've got to do what I think is best for the horse."

Aidan O'Brien would also like to see the word soft disappear from the going description for his War Command.

One of last year's leading juveniles, having won the Coventry Stakes and Dewhurst, War Command could finish only ninth at Newmarket in the 2,000 Guineas behind Night Of Thunder and Kingman.

His jockey Joseph O'Brien is hoping he can emulate two other Ballydoyle inmates which were well beaten at Newmarket before winning at the Curragh, but he's also keen for an improvement in the weather.

"Soft would be a big inconvenience for him, so hopefully the ground will dry out and it's no worse than good," O'Brien Jnr stated.

"He wasn't beaten too far (at Newmarket), he raced quite lazily through the race and it was his first run of the year.

"Hopefully he can step up from the Guineas on the Curragh, as both Power and Roderic O'Connor have done before.

"We were thinking of maybe cheekpieces or a visor or something, just to sharpen him up and get him to travel through his race.

"He's done some light work since Newmarket and he seems to have come out of the race well. Hopefully he can run to his Dewhurst and Coventry form."

The Curragh's general manager Paul Hensey said he expected the ground at the weekend to be on the slow side of good.

Meanwhile, Ballydoyle's Verrazano could cross swords with Olympic Glory again in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

The one-mile showpiece is under consideration for both horses, with Verrazano running a fine race on his O'Brien debut to take third behind Richard Hannon's four-year-old in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

The Queen Anne is among the options for Olympic Glory, which is also in the Prince of Wales's Stakes, like his stablemate Toronado.

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