Moore Winter call as HRI boss heads North to meet trainers
Having had a 1-2-3 in last year's Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Aidan O'Brien will approach Sunday's renewal with confidence - all the more after Winter was among his five declared yesterday.
And that Ryan Moore (right) steers the grey filly, a dual Guineas winner, was the main racecourse chat yesterday. Speculation in recent days suggested he would steer Order Of St George, which is a superb ride for O'Brien's son Donnacha to get instead.
Enable will face 17 rivals as she bids to justify odds-on favouritism. John Gosden's filly has carried all before her this season and is attempting to win her fifth Group One in succession.
Order Of St George, Capri, Seventh Heaven, Idaho and Winter all line up for Ballydoyle with Highland Reel and Cliffs Of Moher skipping the race.
Sir Michael Stoute's Ulysses, second to Enable in the King George but winner of the Eclipse and Juddmonte International either side of that, will attempt to give his trainer a second Arc. The main French challenge is expected to come from Brametot, winner of the French Guineas and Derby, and Zarak.
Andre Fabre runs Cloth Of Stars, Plumatic and Doha Dream, while German interest rests with Dschingis Secret, winner of the Prix Foy, and Iquitos. Satono Diamond, which will have the assistance of his pacemaker Satono Noblesse, lines up for Japan. The field is completed by One Foot In Heaven and Silverwave with the draw this evening.
There was a classy contest at Perth yesterday, where Nigel Twiston-Davies' Ballyandy took the Timothy Hardie Jewellers Novices' Chase under son Sam. Gordon Elliott's Fagan gave the winner a scare but the 8/13 favourite pulled away in the closing stages.
At Newmarket, the wonderfully-bred Elarqam maintained his unbeaten record in the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes. Trained by Mark Johnston for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, the 1.6 million guinea purchase is by Frankel out of the Middleham yard's brilliant Guineas winner Attraction.
At the same venue, Ghaiyyath earned quotes for next year's Investec Derby after making his second start a winning one in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.
Having finished third on his debut at Doncaster, the Charlie Appleby-trained son of Dubawi, which cost €1.1m as a foal, ran out a facile five-length winner of the mile contest.
Meanwhile, a huge weekend for the all-conquering Ballydoyle operation begins at Newmarket today, when Butterscotch bids to take the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes under Ryan Moore. The Galileo filly faces nine rivals, including the unbeaten Gavota. Moore was criticised for his ride aboard Sir John Lavery, which seemed to hang under pressure, when that one was beaten at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend. He is joined by stable ally Whitecliffsofdover in the Shadwell Joel Stakes.
O'Brien's other runner at the track is Derrinstown British EBF Maiden Stakes hope Coat Of Arms, while Clemmie is the stable's big name tomorrow.
O'Brien relies solely on Churchill's full sister to give him back-to-back victories in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park. She will face 12 rivals in the Group One test over six furlongs as she seeks to supplement Brave Anna's success of 12 months ago.
Others the field include Threading, Flying Childers, Heartache and Different League.
Meanwhile, Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh was a surprise attendee as HRI and the Turf Club met with the fledgling Northern Irish trainers' body in Newry last evening, the group's birth arising from anger at the application of racing's pension arrangements to stable staff in the North.
The trainers sought answers as to the winding up of the old scheme and there were questions asked of the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association, represented by chief executive Michael Grassick.
This issue has caused major tension between HRI and the Turf Club. "It was a good meeting, good questions. The new pension scheme was explained and seemed to be well-received," Kavanagh told the Irish Independent.
The career of rider Dale Swift took another twist yesterday when he was banned until December 2018 after he tested positive for cocaine in March.