Ten Sovereigns leads strong O'Brien squad for July Cup bid
Aidan O'Brien leads the Irish challenge in Saturday's Darley July Cup with a quartet of possible contenders - led by Ten Sovereigns - chasing the Ballydoyle maestro's fifth success in the Newmarket feature.
Ten Sovereigns closed out a brilliant juvenile campaign with victory in the Middle Park Stakes on the Rowley Mile last September, but has disappointed on both starts this season and has something to prove.
The No Nay Never colt didn't stay the mile when going off favourite in the English 2,000 Guineas - he finished fifth behind stablemate Magna Grecia - before a fourth-place finish behind Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup.
Ten Sovereigns could be joined by All The King's Men, Fairyland and So Perfect as O'Brien bids for back-to-back successes in the 6f sprint - following last year's victory for US Navy Flag - while his son Joseph could be represented by Speak In Colours.
Martyn Meade's stable star Advertise heads the 15-strong field having scored in good style at Royal Ascot, with Michael Stoute's Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Dream Of Dreams and Roger Varian's Wokingham Handicap scorer Cape Byron among his chief rivals.
O'Brien also revealed plans for his top three-year-old colts, with English Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and Irish Derby hero Sovereign heading for the King George (July 27), while Japan will tackle the Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp this Sunday.
"We are thinking of going to the Grand Prix de Paris with Japan at the moment. That could change, but that is what we are thinking of. He seems to be in good form," O'Brien said.
"He seems to have come out of Ascot well and everything seems well with him so far. We're thinking Anthony Van Dyck might go to the King George, with Sovereign. It could change, but that's what we're thinking at the moment."
Meanwhile, Ger Lyons reports exciting juvenile Siskin to be in fine fettle, with the Railway Stakes winner set to step up to Group One company in next month's Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
"Siskin is in great order and has come out of the race well. We gave him an easy week and he's out eating grass every day. He has a temperament to die for. All roads lead to the Phoenix, please God," Lyons said of the precocious two-year-old.
The Meath trainer continued his stellar season with a successful raid in Ayr yesterday as Kinch (9/1) got up to land the toteexacta Handicap at the Scottish track by a short head under Donagh O'Connor.