O'Brien eyes Ascot prize for Gleneagles
After another successful weekend at the office, Aidan O'Brien chases more Group One booty this Saturday at Ascot where he's hoping the long-absent Gleneagles will lead the Ballydoyle assault on Champions Day.
Along with French supertsar Solow, Gleneagles heads a list of 12 five-day confirmations for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
O'Brien and his team are monitoring ground conditions before deciding to commit the dual 2,000 Guineas winner to Europe's richest Group One over a mile, but Coolmore's UK representative, Kevin Buckley, is optimistic the colt can make his first appearance since winning the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
"He's in very good form and obviously it's all eyes on the weather," said Buckley. "He'll do another little piece of work in the week - we have our fingers crossed. There is very little drying going on at Ascot but we hope he shows up."
O'Brien has two entries - Tapestry and Found - in the Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, though the latter is more likely to go for the Champion Stakes on the same card.
Ralph Beckett reports St Leger winner Simple Verse on course for this contest, while other potential rivals include Hugo Palmer's Irish Oaks winner Covert Love and David Elsworth's York heroine Arabian Queen - the only horse to beat Golden Horn.
There are two other Irish-trained contenders in Zannda from Dermot Weld's stable and Jessica Harrington's Bocca Baciata.
O'Brien turns his attention to the 'bread and butter' of the domestic scene this afternoon when the Curragh stages its final fixture of the year.
Los Barbados carries Ballydoyle hopes in the Kildare Rated Race over ten furlongs and if there's improvement from his Wexford maiden success, Joseph O'Brien's mount can get the better of the Weld-trained Ashraf.
Well-bred newcomer Idaho is an interesting O'Brien runner in the juvenile maiden, but slight preference is given to the twice-raced Mittersill.