Monday 19 March 2018

O'Brien's Battle for Kentucky

WHILE Aidan O'Brien's main focus will be on Newmarket this weekend, the trainer's thoughts will turn to the Kentucky Derby this evening when his Lines Of Battle lines up at Churchill Downs.

The Ballydoyle supremo is keen to land America's premier race and this season's candidate travels across the Atlantic with high hopes.

An American-bred son of War Front, the three-year-old showed his class and ability to handle an artificial surface when winning the UAE Derby at Meydan in March.

Ryan Moore has made the trip Stateside for the ride, although the jockey will immediately jet back to Newmarket for the second day of the Guineas meeting.

"He's in good form, obviously nobody knows about (how he'll handle) the dirt until he runs on it," O'Brien said. "We were very happy with him in Dubai. He's usually a fast breaker, he travels well and we're looking forward to the race."

Heading the betting for the 10 furlong contest is Shug McGaughey's Florida Derby hero Orb, the mount of Joel Rosario.

Having been sidelined for almost a month by injury, jockey John Velazquez returned to competitive action earlier this week and he partners the Todd Pletcher-trained Verrazano in the feature.

Irish Independent

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