O'Brien targets Trial test for exciting Buckhurst
Most jumps trainers are coming to the end of the season but Joseph O'Brien is only getting started and the dual-purpose Kilkenny trainer is excited with his sizeable Flat contingent ahead of the summer.
Buckhurst - which scored narrowly on his racecourse debut at Leopardstown last weekend - has lots of potential with O'Brien readying him for a Derby tilt.
Having not run as a juvenile, the son of Australia has a bit of ground to make up and his credentials will be put to the test in next month's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
"If he happens to make a Derby, great, but we won't force him too. We'll have him for the second half of the season or whatever. The Irish Derby might be more likely but we'll take it one step at a time," O'Brien said.
"He done well to win over a mile at Leopardstown first time out so I'd say he's a nice colt. He's probably going to meet Broome (trained by his father Aidan) which would be a big ask on his second ever run. We'll give him a chance of being a Derby horse and see, he's a nice horse."
Last year's Irish Derby victory with Latrobe provided the 25-year-old with one of his biggest career highlights and he reports the four-year-old to have "wintered well" as he eyes Group One prizes with him.
"He'll probably start off at the weekend (Naas on Saturday) and we'll go from there. We'll try and win a Group One with him, that'll be the aim and The Tattersalls Gold Cup will be an early-season target.
"The main aim in the second half of the season will probably be to go back down there (Australia) for the Caulfield Cup or Melbourne Cup."
O'Brien also has a nice English 1,000 Guineas prospect on his hands in Iridessa - a Group One winner at the end of last season and a general 16/1 shot for the Newmarket Classic - but he stressed that the daughter of Ruler Of The World is unlikely to tackle the longer Oaks trip.
"Iridessa will probably go to Newmarket for the Guineas and go from there. I'd be cautious going a mile and a half at the moment but we probably will try it eventually."
As O'Brien's young training career continues to take off, Brendan Powell's has reached its finish after 19 years, with the Kildare native, who was based in Lambourn, citing financial pressure for his decision.
Powell, who famously rode Rhyme 'n' Reason to win the 1988 Aintree Grand National for trainer David Elsworth, sent out more than 600 winners as a dual-purpose handler.