Aidan O’Brien looking for a change of fortune at Breeders’ Cup

Trainer looking to add to his 12 winners to date at this weekend’s event in Kentucky

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Magical  has been made a 5-2 favourite for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Magical has been made a 5-2 favourite for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Aidan O’Brien will hope for a change of fortune when Magical leads a team of eight Ballydoyle runners into the Breeders’ Cup in Keeneland later this week.

Ireland’s champion trainer endured a fraught October that included controversies over contaminated feed and a saddle mix-up for a Group One race in Newmarket.

The loss of his 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in Tuesday morning’s Melbourne Cup is a grim reverse too as O’Brien looks ahead to try and improve on his tally of 12 Breeders’ Cup winners to date.

That haul has come from 147 runners over the years, although his strike-rate is much better in the mile and a half Turf event with six wins in the $4 million race.

Magical has been made a 5-2 favourite with US odds-makers for Saturday night’s renewal, closely followed by both her stable companion Mogul and Dermot Weld’s star filly, Tarnawa.

They are among an overall party of 14 Irish-trained runners at US racing’s $31 million shop-window fixture which begins on Friday night.

O’Brien’s Lipizzaner is the first of them in the Grade Two Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint although it is Friday’s two other juvenile races on grass that will generate most Irish hopes.

Both O’Brien and Jessica Harrington are represented in the juvenile turf races for colts and fillies.

Harrington runs Cadillac who got an ideal stall five draw in the colts’ event where O’Brien’s Battleground will break from nine.

The latter’s stable companion, Mother Earth, who was involved in the Newmarket saddle mix-up last month, will emerge from stall eight in the fillies’ race.

Harrington’s Oodnadatta and Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet will break form stalls one and two respectively.

Paddy Power are odds-on, 5-6, about there being two or more Irish-trained winners over the two days.

Monday night’s draw for the 14 Breeders’ Cup races was mostly kind to Irish hopes although Harrington’s Cayenne Pepper fared worst with the wide 14 of 14 position for the Filly & Mare on Saturday.

O’Brien’s Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Peaceful lines up in the same race while her stable companions Circus Maximus and Lope Y Fernandez join Ger Lyons’s Siskin in the Mile.

Frankie Dettori, who broke his Group One duck for O’Brien on St Mark’s Basilica in last month’s Dewhurst Stakes, will team up with Lope Y Fernandez for the first time.

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