Tuesday 25 September 2018

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"

Irish Independent

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