Tuesday 23 October 2018

O'Brien hits record with Saxon Warrior

Aidan O’Brien watches with his wife Ann-Marie as Saxon Warrior wins at Doncaster yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Aidan O’Brien watches with his wife Ann-Marie as Saxon Warrior wins at Doncaster yesterday. Photo: Getty Images

Nick Robson

Aidan O'Brien secured a record 26th Group One victory of the year as Saxon Warrior claimed the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

The Deep Impact colt made a huge impression on his racecourse debut at the Curragh and having followed up in last month's Beresford Stakes at Naas, he was the 13-8 favourite to provide his trainer with an eighth triumph in this juvenile event.

Ryan Moore's mount travelled powerfully throughout the one-mile contest, but looked booked for minor honours when the John Gosden-trained Roaring Line swept alongside and briefly went to the front.

However, he veered off a true line when push came to shove, giving Saxon Warrior a chance and he fought back admirably to claim a historic victory by a neck. The winner's stablemate, The Pentagon, was third.

O'Brien surpassed the record for number of top-level wins in a calendar year set by American trainer Bobby Frankel in 2003.

He said: "I'm delighted and delighted for everybody. There's a lot of hard work put in by a lot of people in Ballydoyle and Coolmore.

"It's unbelievable really. There are so many people who put in so much hard work day in, day out. If I start mentioning people, I'd forget somebody. They know who they are.

Of Saxon Warrior, the trainer added: "He travelled very strong and Ryan gave him a brilliant ride.

"When John's horse went by him you thought he was beaten, but he found plenty and we're delighted."

O'Brien paid tribute to the Coolmore triumvirate of John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith for producing such incredible thoroughbreds for him to train.

He said: "You're always afraid when you want something to happen, it doesn't happen.

"I couldn't believe it when this horse came back. When John's horse came by him I said 'that's it, he'll be second', but Ryan really conjured a new run out of him.

"It's been a funny year really. A lot of horses have progressed and progressed. There were so many horses like that, it was unusual.

"A lot of very well-bred horses just got better and better. The lads have an unbelievable band of mares and stallions and there are a lot of horses with blue-chip pedigrees. The genes are obviously there if you can get them to fire up."

Saxon Warrior is as short as 6-1 for next year's 2000 Guineas and a best priced 5-1 favourite for the Epsom Derby.

O'Brien added: "He travelled very well. Ryan said he surprised him how quickly he jumped into it."

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