Chicquita set to make debut for O’Brien at Champions Weekend

Aidan O’Brien confirms Due Diligence out ofthe running for Haydock Sprint Cup

Johnny Murtagh, riding Chicquita, celebrates winning the Irish Oaks at the Curragh last year, the filly’s last run. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

The €6 million record breaking filly Chicquita is on course to make her debut for Aidan O'Brien at the Curragh over Champions Weekend, but the trainer confirmed yesterday the ante-post favourite Due Diligence won't make the line-up for this Saturday's Haydock Sprint Cup.

The Group One prize could see a strong representation of Ireland's top sprinters with Tom Hogan's defending champion Gordon Lord Byron likely to be joined by Sole Power if ground conditions allow Eddie Lynam's star try to break his duck at six furlongs.

A win for Sole Power would give Lynam a remarkable clean-sweep of all five Group One sprints in Britain in 2014.

Due Diligence has topped ante-post lists for the race, but O’Brien said: “Due Diligence won’t run and it’s possible we won’t have a runner in the race at all.”


Haydock’s biggest flat prize is one of only half a dozen top-flight races in Britain that O’Brien has yet to win, but he has two renewals of the Blandford Stakes to his credit already and Chicquita is on target to try and make it three in the €200,000 Group Two prize on Sunday week.

The most expensive horse bought at auction in Ireland when she was sold at Goffs last year, Chicquita hasn’t raced since landing last season’s Irish Oaks at the Curragh for French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.

"Everything's so far so good for her to run in the race here on Champions Weekend," said O'Brien, whose star three-year old Australia remains on course to headline the entire weekend in the previous day's €1 million QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes.

The Ballydoyle team unveiled a new classic contender in Ol Man River at the Curragh yesterday. Their juvenile newcomer Smuggler's Cove looks to have secured a good draw in tonight's Roscommon opener.

Over jumps, Killer Crow was impressive in landing two bumpers and should be hard to beat in the maiden hurdle.