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'Unusual' Abbey excites O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien says he doesn't feel under any pressure to emulate Sea The Stars with 2000 Guineas and Derby favourite St Nicholas Abbey.

The son of Montjeu remained unbeaten through his two-year-old campaign, and created a huge impression when waltzing away with the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

But while O'Brien admits to being "very excited" by the colt, who he describes as "unusual" in his talent, he is determined not to get carried away.

"He's just ticking over and everything is fine with him, it is so far so good," said O'Brien.

"He looked a very exciting horse indeed last year and we are very excited about this year with him, but at the moment he is just ticking over like them all.

"I'm not sure where he'll start off yet, we'll wait until the spring when they all come together and see how they are.

"They usually go away to work somewhere at the end of March, and the Curragh are usually very kind and let us go there before the Guineas and we'll see where they all fit in.

"All options are open to him at the moment.

"Everyone saw last year that he looked a very unusual horse," he added.

"He's by Montjeu, but he has loads of speed and obviously loads of class. He can cruise through his races and quicken.

"He'll be trained with Classics in mind but he does look very unusual at the moment.

"We are under no pressure to try and follow what Sea The Stars did last year, we'll let the horse tell us when he is ready to run and circumstances change every year, we'll just play it by ear and take one day at a time.

"He'll be trained for the Classics, though, as they are what everybody dreams of."

Ballydoyle houses any number of potential Classic colts this season, with the unbeaten Cape Blanco seemingly high up in the pecking order.

O'Brien went on: "Cape Blanco is in good shape, he's back in exercise. He's a good-moving Galileo that we always thought very highly of. In a ideal world he'd want real nice ground. He is lazy at home so there is always a bit more in the tank than there looks with him.

"You couldn't rule him out of the Guineas and being by Galileo he might get much further, so he would be in the mix big time. He stays well and is very genuine. He made all at Fairyhouse on his last run but, the ground was so bad he laboured in front and there was always plenty in the locker."


One of the many Group One winners from the yard is Jan Vermeer, who appeared to have slipped under the radar when winning the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud last November.

Despite being by the quirky Montjeu, O'Brien has yet to see any sign of his famous father's traits.

"He's good, obviously we are very happy with him," added O'Brien.

"He ran first at the Curragh but then won really easy at Gowran on his next start, and then he won the Criterium on his next run.

"He's in the same routine as them all and has progressed physically well, we think, it's so far so good.

"He's been very straightforward and obviously people have seen him racing and there hasn't been any kinks.

"He nearly made the running in France and he looks very straightforward, he did his own thing and just killed them off."