Saturday 25 May 2019

O'Brien out for success on all fronts in busy weekend

Trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Aidan O'Brien begins his latest bid for world domination tonight as he makes a four-pronged attack on the Stars and Stripes card in Belmont Park.

Mendelssohn was out of luck when tailed off as the son of Scat Daddy sought to give the Ballydoyle maestro a first Kentucky Derby in May but he returns on the dirt tonight in the Group Three Dwyer Stakes (9.36).

That's his first American assignment this summer en route to a tilt at the Breeders' Cup Classic in November as he looks for back-to-back wins - he claimed the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last year - and Ryan Moore's mount is the hot favourite of seven runners.

A scintillating winner of the UAE Derby on his penultimate start at Meydan, it says a lot about Ballydoyle's intentions that Moore makes the trip across the Atlantic Ocean rather than partner Saxon Warrior in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.


Mendelssohn should make light work of the opposition in a much lower grade than he is familiar with. That includes his consistent but outclassed stablemate Sea Henge - partnered by Javier Castellano.

Moore also holds a chance in the Group One Belmont Oaks (10.46) aboard Athena, fresh from her third in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh last Sunday.

The fourth O'Brien runner is recent Royal Ascot winner Hunting Horn - which swerved last weekend's Irish Derby to tackle the Group One Belmont Derby (11.50) - and is towards the head of the market under Moore.

On the home front, tomorrow's Group Three Brownstown Stakes for fillies and mares highlights the weekend's action and O'Brien again holds a strong hand in the €75,000 contest.

Could It Be Love - partnered by his son Donnacha - looks the one to stay on the right side of given her third behind Expert Eye in Royal Ascot's Jersey Stakes and her second to Alpha Centauri in the Irish 1000 Guineas.

Anything other than victory for the daughter of War Front would be a shock although Johnny Murtagh's Lightening Quick may give her something to think about.

Irish Independent

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