O'Brien hoping 'Warrior' can turn tables
When Saxon Warrior sluiced up in the English 2000 Guineas in May to maintain his unbeaten run of four wins from four it would have been long odds about Aidan O'Brien's Classic winner not getting his head in front in his next quartet of runs.
However, as he heads for the Group One QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, the son of Deep Impact has quickly gone from Triple Crown contender to an afterthought despite making the frame in the English and Irish Derby.
Having finished ahead of Roaring Lion in the Racing Post Trophy as a juvenile and defeated the same rival convincingly at Newmarket, the Ballydoyle colt has subsequently played second fiddle to John Gosden's charge as their seasons go in different directions.
Roaring Lion edged Saxon Warrior in Sandown's Eclipse before delivering a career-best in York's Juddmonte International and while confidence is high ahead of Saturday's duel, Donnacha O'Brien - who rode Saxon Warrior to Guineas success - is hoping that the tables can be turned in "one of the races of the season".
"He's in good form and his home work has always been good. He has a lot to do to overturn the form with Roaring Lion and bridge the gap but we're happy with how he's been prepared and it'll be another good race between them," O'Brien said.