Tuesday 16 January 2018

No luck again for O'Brien in Chantilly

O'Brien: “We were delighted with Churchill at Newmarket and again when he won at the Curragh.” Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images
O'Brien: “We were delighted with Churchill at Newmarket and again when he won at the Curragh.” Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

Johnny Ward

Aidan O'Brien's quest to win the French Oaks, the Prix de Diane, goes on after Rhododendron was pulled up at Chantilly.

The Guineas and Oaks runner-up burst a blood vessel, with Ryan Moore pulling her up before the home turn. O'Brien felt the warm weather may have been an issue.

The race went to Senga, trained by Pascal Bary and ridden by Stephane Pasquier, which paid 21/1 on the Pari-Mutuel. John Gosden's Shutter Speed looked a major danger, but weakened quickly inside the last half-furlong, losing two places in the final strides to finish fourth.

It was a closely-run thing for second, with Sistercharlie narrowly getting the better of Terrakova.

Alan Cooper, racing manager for successful owners Flaxman Stables, said: "We're absolutely thrilled with her performance. We were expecting a good run, if she stayed. She obviously enjoyed the extra ground and won well.

"She only ran two weeks ago and has had a busy year so far, so she's going to have a rest now."

There was further drama earlier in the race as Christophe Soumillon was unseated from Onthemoonagain.

The Belgian-born rider was stood down for the remainder of the day after he suffered a suspected shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Rhododendron's stablemate Churchill and Barney Roy will engage in an exciting rematch at Royal Ascot after both featured in a final field of eight runners for the St James's Palace Stakes tomorrow.

"We were delighted with Churchill at Newmarket and again when he won at the Curragh," O'Brien said.

"Everything has gone fine since then. He's very straightforward and he should be happy on the ground."

Star American filly Lady Aurelia is just one of the main attractions in a final field of 18 runners for the King's Stand Stakes, while red-hot favourite Ribchester will face 15 rivals in the curtain-raising Queen Anne.

Though Acapulco had a minor setback which ruled her out of the King's Stand, she has not yet been ruled out of Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

"It's still only a possible; we'll decide on Wednesday," said Aidan O'Brien.

Fran Berry is looking forward to "some good rides" at the meeting, though he is to leave his position as stable jockey to Ralph Beckett by mutual agreement, in order to ride as a freelance.

Indo Sport

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport