Thursday 18 December 2014

O'Brien unveils Highland Reel as a Derby contender

Published 31/07/2014 | 02:30

Joseph O'Brien steers Highland Reel to win the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Joseph O'Brien steers Highland Reel to win the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Aidan O'Brien unveiled a potential Derby horse for next year when Highland Reel ran out an impressive winner of the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

Sent off the 10/11 favourite after winning by 12 lengths at Gowran on his latest outing over a mile, he was dropping a furlong in trip.

Mark Johnston's Pallister attempted to make all, but Joseph O'Brien's mount appeared a huge threat with two furlongs to run and the son of Galileo quickened impressively clear.

Richard Hannon's Tupi stayed on nicely to claim second, some two-and-a-quarter lengths away, with Room Key third.

The winning trainer said: "He was a very impressive winner of his maiden the last day and Joseph was very happy with him. He said he had a lot of speed.

"This race just fell really nicely. The spacing of the race worked out just lovely.

"He has a lot of speed and a lot of natural energy.

"He's by Galileo and they can be classy and sharp. Joseph travelled well into the straight and then went to the line very strong."

The Ballydoyle trainer outlined possible plans for Highland Reel.

"Obviously he has lots of options, the Futurity and the National Stakes would be two of them," he said.

Both William Hill and Betvictor make Highland Reel their 12/1 favourite for next year's Epsom Derby.

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