Monday 15 July 2019

Aidan O'Brien 'delighted' after Arizona gives trainer ninth victory in Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot

Matthieu Baumgartner (left) presents Jockey Ryan Moore (right), Trainer A P O'Brien (second right), owner John Magnier (third right) and winning connections of Arizona with the trophy after winning the Coventry Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
Matthieu Baumgartner (left) presents Jockey Ryan Moore (right), Trainer A P O'Brien (second right), owner John Magnier (third right) and winning connections of Arizona with the trophy after winning the Coventry Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Keith Hamer

Arizona came home strongly to give Aidan O'Brien a ninth success in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Sent off the 15-8 favourite on the back of an impressive eight-length win at the Curragh, his supporters will have been a little worried early on.

Outpaced, Ryan Moore was riding him pretty vigorously from halfway, but the fine stamp of a two-year-old began to eat up the ground inside the last of the six furlongs.

Mark Johnston's Makyon had led the field along under Silvestre de Sousa and entering the final furlong was still in front.

As his stride shortened the Archie Watson-trained Guildsman threw down a challenge before Richard Hannon's Threat, the second-favourite, clicked into gear.

He had no answer to the son of No Nay Never, however, who beat Threat by half a length, with Guildsman a neck back in third.

Arizona ridden by jockey Ryan Moore (second right) on his way to winning the Coventry Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Arizona ridden by jockey Ryan Moore (second right) on his way to winning the Coventry Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

O'Brien said: "He was very green the first day and progressed a lot the next time and won very easily, but he probably didn't learn a lot because of that.

"This was the first day he had to learn. He was a little bit slowly away, a little bit lost through the race, but came home really well, so I'm delighted.

"He has loads of speed, as he wouldn't be able to do what he did, but we always thought he'd have no problem getting seven furlongs and when they do that, normally they'll have no problem getting a mile next year.

"He could sharpen up a lot from that, but seven furlongs should be very comfortable to him. He's a fine big horse and you'd look forward to him next year.

"You'd imagine he'd get a mile. He's probably quicker than he lets on. He's still a baby and when he won at the Curragh we thought if he was eligible for the Chesham we'd have had no problem running him in it.

"That type of horse can get quicker when they learn. He was babyish in the race and still came home well. He'd have learnt plenty today."

Hannon said of the runner-up: "He is a good horse. We came here to learn that, and we have. There are no excuses. He is a Group One horse and we can't wait for the rest of the year.

"The six furlongs suited him. Maybe (we could go to Newmarket), he is the sort of horse that will come out of the race great. He is strong and mature and hopefully we will have a good year with him."

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