Sunday 25 August 2019

'Van Dyck' targets Galileo glory trail

'Anthony Van Dyck emerged victorious after a thrilling five-way finish to last month’s premier Classic' (stock photo)
'Anthony Van Dyck emerged victorious after a thrilling five-way finish to last month’s premier Classic' (stock photo)

Thomas Kelly

Anthony Van Dyck will be following in the hoof-prints of his illustrious father if he can supplement his Epsom Derby triumph with victory in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

It is 18 years since the top-class racehorse turned Coomore super-sire Galileo provided Aidan O'Brien with his first victories at Epsom and in Ascot's midsummer highlight.

Surprisingly, none of the trainer's next five Derby winners - High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler of the World (2013), Australia (2014) and Wings of Eagles (2017) - even ran in the King George.

Anthony Van Dyck emerged victorious after a thrilling five-way finish to last month's premier Classic, but was unable to complete the Derby double at the Curragh four weeks later when his stablemate Sovereign claimed a shock victory from the front.

With the brilliant dual Arc heroine Enable and proven top-notcher Crystal Ocean among his rivals today, O'Brien is more hopeful than confident that his charge can prevail.

He said: "He is getting weight, but the weight for age is there for a reason, because he is only three years old and most of his rivals are four- and five-year-olds.

"I suppose this was always one of the races the lads (owners Coolmore) had pencilled in for him - it was part of the original plan, and we didn't see any reason why to change it after the Curragh.

"We think he has always been versatile as regards to ground."

The Ballydoyle maestro also saddles Magic Wand and rank outsiders Hunting Horn and Norway.

Meanwhile, O'Brien is responsible for five of the 13 fillies and mares confirmed for the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Thursday.

The record-breaking trainer has saddled four previous winners of the Group One contest in Peeping Fawn (2007), Halfway To Heaven (2008), Minding (2016) and Winter (2017) - and appears intent on adding to his tally next week.

O'Brien's chief contender appears to be dual 1,000 Guineas heroine Hermosa. The classy daughter of Galileo had to make do with the runner-up spot behind French raider Watch Me in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, and would be an interesting proposition stepping up to a mile and a quarter for the first time.

The Ballydoyle supremo has also left in the high-class I Can Fly, Coral Beach, Just Wonderful and Magic Wand - although the latter is due to contest today's King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport