Anthony Van Dyck will try to follow his father Galileo when he lines up in King George
The O’Brien-trained Derby hero will be receiving 8lb from odds-favourite Enable
Seamie Heffernan riding Anthony Van Dyck to win the Derby at Epsom on June 1st, 2019. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Having sent out Galileo to claim both the midsummer showpiece and the Derby in the same season in 2001, Aidan O’Brien will attempt to repeat the feat with this year’s Epsom Classic hero.
Yet while Galileo entered the race seeking a Group One hat-trick after adding the Irish Derby to his CV, Anthony Van Dyck was a beaten favourite behind stablemate Sovereign at the Curragh.
O’Brien has not lost any faith in his colt, however. “We are happy with Anthony since the Curragh, and everything has gone well with him since then. We thought he ran very well. It was a good race, and there were some very smart horses in there and we were happy with his run.
“Sovereign is a good horse in his own right, he had good form this year and good form last year – we weren’t surprised that when he went up to a mile and a half he would be capable of a good run over that trip at some point.”
Anthony Van Dyck will be receiving 8lb from odds-favourite Enable, but O’Brien, who could also run Norway, Magic Wand and Hunting Horn, is well aware of the task facing his team.
“We have four left in there, but he [Anthony Van Dyck] would be the main one. It would be possible that all four could run.
“I don’t know [about beating Enable]. We try to run the horses in the race that suits them all, and hopefully they will run as well as we can get them, and that is how we approach every race really.”
Sovereign, who struck at 33-1 at the Curragh having made much of the running, was a notable absentee from the 11 acceptors at the five-day stage for the Qipco-sponsored feature.
O’Brien said: “He is getting a little rest. We just felt over the last few days that a little break would do him good, so that is what he is having.
“He will have this little rest now with a view to the autumn in mind, and we will see how we go then. He could be anything really. He will have a quiet time, then we will prepare him for a race around Great Voltigeur time, then we can see where we will go.”
Meanwhile, Yasuo Tomomichi has no doubt it would be one of the highlights of his career if 2017 Japan Cup hero Cheval Grand could go one better than in the Dubai Sheema Classic and become the first Japanese-trained winner of the race.
He said: “Cheval Grand has been in England for one week. Monday morning was the first time I have seen the horse since he left Japan, and his condition is the same as it was before he travelled over.
“Cheval Grand has not had many races for a seven-year-old and has a pedigree that says he will improve as he gets older. I don’t think his age is a problem..
“The King George has a long history and is very famous in the racing world. It would be one of the high points of my career to win this race.”