O’Brien makes another run at the Roses
Battle attempt to make history
It might not get the locals quaking in their boots but Aidan O’Brien has confirmed Lines Of Battle as being on track to try and record a slice of history in next month’s Kentucky Derby.
It will be the third year in a row that Ireland’s champion trainer has sent a runner to America’s most famous race, and the third year in a row O’Brien’s representative will have prepared for the ‘Run For The Roses’ with an outing in the UAE Derby.
In 2011 Master Of Hounds ran an honourable fifth at Churchill Downs but last year Daddy Long Long Legs finished stone-last in Kentucky, emphasising again the challenge involved in beating America’s best.
No European horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby. O’Brien’s first attempt at breaking that statistic came in 2002 when both Joahnnesburg (eighth) and Castle Gandolfo (twelfth) were well beaten behind War Emblem.
Nevertheless, the Ballydoyle team are set to again try and crack the code to a race famously referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sport” on the first Saturday in May.
Like Daddy Long Legs, Lines Of Battle will travel to the US on the back of a win in the UAE Derby at Meydan.
“The plan for Lines Of Battle is the Kentucky Derby,” O’Brien reported yesterday. “He seems to have come out of the race well, travelled well and in an ideal world he would have preferred a better lead but that was the way the race worked out.”
With just three and a half weeks to go, the shape of this year’s Kentucky Derby firming up with the unbeaten Verrazano cementing his position at the top of the betting with a Wood Memorial win in New York at the weekend.
Lines Of Battle is relatively unconsidered in betting in the US but is as low as 14-1 in some ante-post lists on this side of the Atlantic.