Aidan O’Brien wheels out big guns in quest for fifth British trainers’ title
Ireland’s perennial champion trainer is currently just over €350,000 behind Richard Hannon
Aidan O’Brien wheels out the big guns in his quest for a fifth British trainers’ title.
Camelot may be off to his second career at stud but even in the absence of the 2012 triple-Classic hero, Aidan O’Brien is sizing up how much of the huge prize-money pot he can secure at Ascot on Saturday en route to a possible fifth British champion trainer title.
Ireland’s perennial champion trainer is currently just over €350,000 behind Richard Hannon in the British championship but Saturday’s ‘Champions Day’ extravaganza is shaping up as having a potentially decisive influence on the end-of-season statistics.
Camelot had been mooted as a possible for the Qipco Champion Stakes prior to yesterday’s confirmation that the 2,000 Guineas-Epsom Derby-Irish Derby winner has been retired to the Coolmore paddocks but O’Brien is still able to wheel out some big guns for this weekend.
This year’s Epsom Derby victor, Ruler Of The World, seventh in the Arc nine days ago, is part of a four-strong Ballydoyle entry for the Champion Stakes, alongside Declaration Of War who also holds an entry in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes after yesterday’s five-day forfeit stage.
Final career start
O’Brien has already stated Declaration Of War could skip Ascot entirely if ground conditions remain soft but even in his absence, Irish interest in the QEII will be considerable with Dawn Approach set to have his final career start in the mile highlight, and Tom Hogan contemplating running Gordon Lord Byron.
Significantly O’Brien has also given QEII and Champion Stakes entries to Magician, impressive winner of the Irish Guineas but unseen since disappointing in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Bolger’s Irish Derby winner Trading Leather also figures among a Champion Stakes entry dominated by the French star Cirrus Des Aigles while the Prix de l’Abbaye hero Maarek will attempt to secure back-to-back wins in the big sprint. He is joined among an entry of 18 by a trio of Eddie Lynam stars – Sole Power, Balmont Mast and Slade Power – as well as Ballydoyle’s Cristiforo Colombo.
Dermot Weld’s Rite Of Passage won’t defend his Long Distance crown on Saturday but Dermot Weld has the option of relying instead on the filly Pale Mimosa in a race that has also attracted John Oxx’s Saddler’s Rock and the O’Brien pair, Ernest Hemingway and Eye Of The Storm.
A mid-October Tuesday at the Curragh hardly exudes Classic glamour but end-of-term fixtures at HQ have a habit of throwing up embryonic Group One winners of the future.
Aidan O’Brien unveiled another potential Derby horse on Sunday when Century made an impressive winning debut and the newcomer Tigris River heads a Ballydoyle trio in today’s seven furlong maiden.
A son of Montjeu and the Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Hula Angel, Tigris River holds a Derby entry but so does John Oxx’s newcomer Ebanoran, a son of Oasis Dream and the Irish Oaks winner Ebadiyla.
O’Brien edged out Oxx in a strong maiden at the weekend and could do the same now.
There will be plenty interest in the first start of Dawn Approach’s full-sister, Prudent Approach, in the fillies maiden although Ballydoyle’s Sparrow holds an experience edge and stepped up considerably on her second start.
The other juvenile maiden can see Afternoon Sunlight make it third time lucky. Dermot Weld’s runner chased home another daughter of Sea The Stars, My Titania, at Leopardstown last month, and that form looks very good.