Thursday 19 April 2018

O'Brien to tackle scales for Gleneagles

Joseph O'Brien will be hoping to renew his partnership with Gleneagles in the Juddmonte International at York
Joseph O'Brien will be hoping to renew his partnership with Gleneagles in the Juddmonte International at York

Marcus Armytage

Joseph O'Brien must slim down inside the next two days after he was confirmed to ride his father Aidan's Gleneagles in tomorrow's Juddmonte International clash with Golden Horn.

The York showpiece has all the promise of being the 'race of the season' with, the two outstanding colts of this year's golden Classic generation spearheading the eight declared on the opening day of the Ebor meeting.

In some quarters, it was thought unlikely that O'Brien Jnr would ride Gleneagles, on whom he was unbeaten last year, because the colt is set to carry 8st 12lb, the rider's absolute minimum and 2lb less than his normal lightest weight.

But, with Ryan Moore still out injured, the trainer's son has been declared to ride the Guineas winner in public for the first time this season.

It is, however, no two-horse race. Among their own generation is Time Test, which runs in the sponsors' colours. He has not been seen out since the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was ridden to his three-and-half-length win there by Golden Horn's jockey, Frankie Dettori, so Pat Smullen takes the ride.

The Grey Gatsby, the Dante winner who was runner-up to Australia in this race last year before turning the tables on him at Leopardstown, is the pick of the older horses, while the race, once known for shocks, has also drawn Australian challenger Criterion.

The meeting also boasts two of the most exciting colts to come out of the Qatar Goodwood Festival: Shalaa will run in Saturday's Gimcrack, while Tashaar, which won a handicap doing proverbial handsprings, runs in tomorrow's Betway Great Voltigeur. Both are owned by Al Shaqab Racing. Seamie Heffernan will partner O'Brien's other runner Cougar Mountain.


The Ballydoyle supremo, meanwhile, is set to have three representatives in the Great Voltigeur, which is a recognised trial for the Doncaster St Leger next month. Aloft, so impressive on his seasonal debut in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot, Curragh Cup winner Bondi Beach and Giovanni Canaletto will fly the flag for the stable.

Epsom Derby third Storm The Stars spearheads a seven-strong cast for tomorrow's 12-furlong contest.

William Haggas' colt, which was second in the Irish Derby, is thriving on racing and was far from disgraced when third in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp last month.

Tashaar, trained by Richard Hannon, was supplemented last week and unsurprisingly stands his ground after winning his two races to date in the style of an upwardly-mobile animal.

Royal Ascot winner Balios, trained by David Simcock, is another intriguing candidate as he was not far behind Storm The Stars at Longchamp.

Elsewhere, Forgotten Rules is set to head straight for the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh on September 13.

Dermot Weld's charge looked every inch a Gold Cup horse in the making after winning his first four starts and although he came up short in the Royal Ascot showpiece, he went down fighting to finish third on ground quicker than ideal.

He disappointed when a hot favourite for the Curragh Cup 10 days later, but has been given time to recover and connections are hopeful he will show his true colours on an easier surface in the autumn.

Fiona Craig, breeding advisor for owners Moyglare Stud, said: "You won't see him on quick ground again."

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