Aidan O’Brien has Doncaster trophy in his sights again
First Lieutenant likely to appear next at Down Royal
Toormore, seen here winning the National Stakes at the Curragh, will provide strong opposition to Aidan O’Brien’s four entries in the Racing Post Trophy. Photograph: Inpho.
Aidan O’Brien had to wait until War Command’s Dewhurst Stakes earlier this month to secure a first juvenile Group One prize of 2013 but could build on that with a vengeance in Saturday’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, a race he has dominated like few others.
Ireland’s champion trainer is chasing an eighth victory in the final Group One prize of the year in Britain and Ireland and has four of the 13 horses left in after yesterday’s five-day stage. The late Sir Henry Cecil holds the race record with 10 wins.
O’Brien’s potential runners include a trio of maiden winners, Century, Red Rocks Point and Buonarrati, as well as Johann Strauss who got turned over a short odds at Naas on Sunday.
Irish-trained horses have won the trophy for the last four years, including with three Ballydoyle runners.
O’Brien’s main opposition could again come from Richard Hannon who has left in Chief Barker and the unbeaten Toormore, winner of the National Stakes last month.
Roger Varian has supplemented the Autumn Stakes winner Kingston Hill and said: “He’s in great form and . . . handles cut in the ground and we feel there is more to come. He has the right profile for the race.”
Although Group One action will finish up in these islands after the weekend, O’Brien could wind up the juvenile campaign with a vengeance in France.
The Criterium International, a race the Ballydoyle trainer has landed three times, is run at Saint-Cloud on Friday week while a couple of weeks afterwards, the Criterium de Saint-Cloud over 10 furlongs is also a Group One prize. O’Brien has won that on four occasions, the last of which was with Recital in 2010.
On the jumps front, Mouse Morris indicated yesterday that First Lieutenant is likely to appear next in the JNwine Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday week. The Gigginstown-owned star was a beaten odds-on favourite on his first start of the new campaign last week.
“They didn’t go much of a gallop . . . But he’ll improve for the run,” said Morris. “Depending on the ground I think he’ll . . . go to Down Royal.”