Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 17 October 2019

O'Brien targets Curragh Guineas double

O'Brien: "We decided we’d go to the Irish Guineas, and from there on to the French Oaks." Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

THERE has been no stopping Aidan O'Brien since the Flat season commenced and the Ballydoyle maestro is eyeing further domination in the Irish Guineas this weekend.

Classic action returns to the Curragh for the first time since its costly makeover and O'Brien looks certain to be the leading player as both Magna Grecia and Hermosa bid to land the Guineas double at the Kildare track.

Magna Grecia landed O'Brien's 10th success in the English 2,000 Guineas and the Invincible Spirit colt is likely to be warm order to follow up in the Irish equivalent this Saturday.

Everything has gone to plan with Magna Grecia since his Newmarket win while there has been a change of direction with 1,000 Guineas heroine Hermosa, which has a trip to Chantilly on the horizon after taking in Sunday's Irish 1,000 Guineas.

"We were thinking originally of going for the (Epsom) Oaks with Hermosa - but it's less than a week between the Irish Guineas and the Oaks. We decided we'd go to the Irish Guineas, and from there on to the French Oaks," O'Brien said.

"The French Oaks is worth nearly twice what the English Oaks is worth, and we thought it would be a nice stepping stone to go from a mile up to a mile and a quarter. Happen could also run (in the 1,000 Guineas), along with Just Wonderful."

Magical will be O'Brien's main contender in Sunday's Tattersalls Gold Cup while plans for many of his other stars were also revealed.

The 49-year-old was pleasantly surprised with the speed shown by Southern France when just touched off by Stradivarius in last Friday's Yorkshire Cup and he looks set to switch targets for Royal Ascot.

"He could come back in trip for something like the Hardwicke. The Gold Cup was the plan, but he has more pace than we thought."

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