Saturday 20 January 2018

In brief: O'Brien considers Hounds options

Master Of Hounds will go for either the Qipco 2,000 Guineas or the Kentucky Derby following his gallant effort in the UAE Derby.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt was touched off by a nose to Khawlah in the 10-furlong Group Two contest on Saturday to earn the right to go for even bigger prizes.

Cape Blanco, which was only beaten a length when fourth in the Dubai World Cup on the same Meydan card, could next go for the Singapore Airlines International Cup in May.

"Cape Blanco would have a Singapore option. Master Of Hounds is in the English 2,000 Guineas and would have a Kentucky Derby option," O'Brien said.

"We will see how they are and the next couple of weeks will tell us a lot.

"The Kentucky Derby is a great race. He handled the surface well out in Dubai and he's a horse that has tactical speed and we were delighted with his run. I'm sure the race will be considered and will be spoken about."

Ground concerns key to Long Run plans

Connections of Long Run will keep a close eye on ground conditions before deciding whether the Cheltenham Gold Cup hero will run again this spring.

The totesport Bowl at Aintree on Thursday week, in which he could renew rivalry with Gold Cup runner-up Denman, is the only race being considered for Long Run ahead of his summer break at owner Robert Waley-Cohen's Upton Viva Stud in Oxfordshire.

"He'll either go straight back to our stud or go to Aintree first on the way," said Waley-Cohen.

"He's in good form and I want the ground to be 100pc for him if he is going to run at Aintree. We don't want him to have too many races on fast ground.

"The Gold Cup was an epic race and obviously we got the right result and we are excited about what's coming along, too."

Thornton cruises to 1,000th victory

Robert Thornton rode his 1,000th career winner, and his 50th of the season, when steering Araldur home in the Free Bets At Novices' Hurdle at Towcester.

The 32-year-old joins an elite club of jockeys, including Tony McCoy, Richard Johnson, Richard Dunwoody and Peter Scudamore, to achieve the four-figure landmark.

Thornton reached the milestone on Araldur for his main retainer Alan King, who coincidentally saddled his 900th winner at Bangor on Saturday.

Making all the running on the 30/100 shot, Thornton enjoyed an armchair ride, winning by 15 lengths. Break The Chain tried to keep tabs with Araldur, but he was shrugged off early in the straight and lost second place to Lombardy Boy by a head.

Thornton made a miraculous return in December from a serious knee ligament injury he sustained in a horrific fall from Hell's Bay at Newton Abbot in July.

Irish Independent

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