Wednesday 21 February 2018

Poly 'spooked' but O'Brien aces ready

The Juvenile Fillies Turf will see Aidan O'Brien pitted against his sons
The Juvenile Fillies Turf will see Aidan O'Brien pitted against his sons

Johnny Ward

His chance of overtaking Bobby Frankel's record of Group/Grade One winners in a year seems remote but Aidan O'Brien has other things on his mind as the Breeders' Cup rolls into town this evening.

The attempts of his sons Joseph and Donnacha to snare the Fillies' Juvenile Turf with Intricately will not be far from his mind but he has four runners on today's card, starting with two in the Juvenile Turf at 9.25pm (Irish time).

Hit It A Bomb won this for the stable last year and, added to previous victories this decade from Wrote and George Vancouver, Ballydoyle has a superb record in the race of late.

The step up to a mile is a major question-mark for the War Front colt Intelligence Cross, which was trading at 5/1 last night. "I hope Intelligence Cross will get the mile, although I can't be sure because all his form is over six furlongs," O'Brien said. "With Lancaster Bomber it's exactly the opposite: we know he will stay and I expect him to be doing his best work late."

The Juvenile Fillies Turf pits father (Hydrangea, Roly Poly) against sons. Aidan will likely fancy his chance and said: "I'm in opposition to Joseph but we are both looking forward to it.

"I think it's a big call for Joseph's filly, who probably hasn't done the racing our fillies have, and I would certainly rather meet her here than at the Curragh.

"Roly Poly was a bit spooked by the whole thing, but apart from her my horses were all really good," he added.

Joseph would become the youngest winning trainer in Breeders' Cup history - and his brother Donnacha the youngest jockey - should Intricately prevail.

The elder brother holds the record for being the youngest jockey to ride a winner at the meet after St Nicholas Abbey won the Turf five years ago but does not miss riding.

He explained: "I don't miss the riding at all. My weight was tough. It was getting to me and in the last year I was making stupid mistakes because of it. I got heavier and heavier and for the last six to eight months my weight wasn't great."

Meanwhile, Don Cossack is back in training and Gordon Elliott, while not taking anything for granted, is hopeful that the Gold Cup winner can return to form.

"Shane McCann gave him a little trot and a hack in the morning. His legs are perfect. It's day by day with Don Cossack but it's nice to have him back - it would put a smile on your face. I'll probably never get one like him again but I will keep trying."

Irish Independent

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