Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 24 March 2018

O'Brien puts Classic contenders on trial

Aidan O'Brien will be hoping to make an impact at Newmarket
Aidan O'Brien will be hoping to make an impact at Newmarket
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Aidan O’Brien initiates a crucial two days for his juveniles with a dual assault on Newmarket’s Fillies’ Mile with Minding and Coolmore.

The Ballydoyle maestro has declared Air Force Blue for tomorrow’s Dewhurst Stakes. Ryan Moore will partner the War Front colt in its bid for a third successive Group One, with Jim Bolger seeking a sixth win in the race since 2006 via Sanus Per Aquam.

Chief among the duo’s home-based opposition is Godolphin’s exciting unbeaten colt Emotionless. On a busy day for the raiding party, there will be five Irish-based runners in the Cesarewitch. Tony Martin’s Moore-ridden Quick Jack will be joined by stablemates Heartbreak City (Fran Berry) and Cassells Rock (Leigh Roche).

Jamie Spencer will partner Willie Mullins’s Renetti, with Gordon Elliott securing the services of Cam Hardie for Bayan in the prestigious two-miler.

Today, Moore is on Minding, with Joseph O’Brien pencilled in for Coolmore. As a Galileo full-sister to Gleneagles, Coolmore might well prove to be the second string in name only. She got off the mark in a Curragh Group Three last time, improving to show a fine turn of foot en route to a decisive win.

If Coolmore keeps progressing, she is unlikely to finish too far away. At the moment, though, Minding is expected to prove superior and reinforce her 2016 Classic credentials. A runaway Leopardstown maiden winner, she is another regally-bred Galileo filly that finished second to Ballydoyle at the Curragh in August. On slower ground in the Moyglare Stud Stakes subsequently, she turned the tables on Ballydoyle with a bit to spare. Given what Ballydoyle and the third Alice Springs have achieved since, Minding should take some stopping on similar going here.

In the Cornwallis Stakes over five furlongs, Eddie Lynam’s Promised Money looks to have a bit to do to overturn Ayr form with Quiet Reflection. There is also an Irish runner over jumps at Newton Abbot.

John ‘Shark’ Hanlon’s Kilkishen contests a novices’ hurdle there, and should have a big say. In opposition is Rebecca Curtis’s JP McManus-owned Going For Broke, one of two that Paul Townend flies in to partner. Townend and Curtis enjoyed a lucrative association last term, and the bumper-winning Going For Broke might prove hard to beat.


Their other representative is Irish Cavalier, which won for the duo at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He contests a competitive intermediate chase, but should be good enough to make a successful reappearance.

Meanwhile, Jonjo O’Neill has indicated that McManus’s 2014 World Hurdle hero More Of That will go novice chasing this term. O’Neill was speaking at Worcester yesterday after an odds-on win for Church Field, Barry Geraghty’s first winner on English soil since being signed up by McManus.

More Of That flopped on his only outing last term at Newbury in November, having enjoyed his finest moment under Geraghty on his previous start.

“We’ll see him when the ground is right, probably in a month’s time,” O’Neill said of a seven-year-old that has had breathing and bleeding problems.

“He seems in grand form at home, we’re very happy with him. He has had his operation and all seems to be good at home. He’ll probably go chasing, he might find that a bit easier.”

O’Neill added that Gold Cup fourth Holywell could reappear in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on October 31.

O’Brien has also confirmed that Kingsbarns and his St Leger runner-up Bondi Beach have embarked on their journey to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup (November 3). Joining them on the plane from Shannon yesterday was Highland Reel, which is being aimed at the Cox Plate on October 24, but the Irish St Leger victor Order Of St George is finished for now.

“Order Of St George had a minor training setback and we’ve decided to put him away for next year,” O’Brien said of the runaway Group One winner.

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