Tuesday 23 April 2019

'Sovereigns' heading straight to Guineas

Donnacha O’Brien riding Ten Sovereigns wins The Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last September. Photo: Getty Images
Donnacha O’Brien riding Ten Sovereigns wins The Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last September. Photo: Getty Images
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Aidan O'Brien will skip Saturday's Greenham Stakes with Ten Sovereigns and his leading English 2,000 Guineas hope will instead wait until next month's Newmarket Classic before pitching up against Too Darn Hot.

Ten Sovereigns - unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile and successful in the Group One Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on his last start in September - has wintered well, according to 21-time Irish champion Flat trainer.

The Ballydoyle maestro believes the son of No Nay Never - a general 7/1 second favourite behind John Gosden's Too Darn Hot (evens) for the 2,000 Guineas on May 4 - is one of many which can see him flourish over the coming months.

"We think we have ammunition but it is moving and changing all the time. You have to have them performing but we are hoping we are on the right track," O'Brien said yesterday.

"The first weekend in May is usually the first time we hope to have them in good order and other than that, the idea is to start and see where we are.

"Ten Sovereigns physically has done well. Nothing would suggest he wouldn't get a mile but we will skip the Greenham at Newbury as there is no point taking on Too Darn Hot when he isn't fully ready and he will go straight to the 2,000 Guineas."

O'Brien is likely to have his first runners at Chelmsford on Thursday and hopes are high that U S S Michigan can prevail en route to a possible tilt at the Kentucky Derby on May 3.

Sergei Prokofiev is another three-year-old with a big future and having already landed a Listed contest this term, O'Brien is excited about his potential over sprint distances.

"Sergei Prokofiev is a very fast horse, as fast a horse as I've ever had.

"He ran against older horses with a penalty at Naas and won. It is the way he comes through his race; he is very fast but is a six-furlong horse, not five furlongs," the 49-year-old said.

O'Brien has two runners on today's Gowran Park card - Four Leaf Clover and Quote tackle the Fillies Maiden (6.40) - but the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap (4.35) is the feature €30,000 contest. Aidan's son Joseph holds a strong hand with five of the 13 runners with youngest son Donnacha aboard likely favourite Crotchet.

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