Saturday 21 September 2019

O'Brien eyes Breeders' bid for US Navy Flag after Dewhurst win

Trainer Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Normal service was resumed for Aidan O'Brien after US Navy Flag spearheaded a one-two-three-four for the Ballydoyle master in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

O'Brien moved to just one of matching Bobby Frankel's all-time record of 25 top-level winners in a year when the son of War Front, who caused an upset in the Middle Park at this track earlier in the month, upstaged odds-on favourite Expert Eye in the seven-furlong Group One.

After breaking smartly, US Navy Flag (5/1) bagged the stands rail and made every yard of the running under Ryan Moore to defeat Mendelssohn by two-and-a-half lengths.

Fellow stablemates Seahenge and Threeandfourpence were third and fourth respectively.

O'Brien said: "We thought we were going to end up making the running as we didn't think there was going to be anything to lead him there. He is a very good Middle Park winner and I think he was overlooked a bit.

"He would go to America (Breeders' Cup) but we will see how he is. He is certainly very happy with what he is doing.

"He has a great mind and I think looking at him you couldn't say he wouldn't get a mile."

Meanwhile, Riven Light's Australian adventure is over after he suffered an injury at Caulfield on Saturday.

Willie Mullins' dual-purpose performer had finished seventh of 11 in the Group One Ladbrokes Stakes, beaten less than five lengths, and had been entered in the Cox Plate.

Afterwards, Mullins revealed: "He's fractured an off-fore joint and it's a premature end to his Australian journey.

"I knew there was something wrong as when he was pulled out by the rider, he weakened quickly, having been holding his position"

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