Magic Wand and Forever Together lead O’Brien’s bid for Oaks
Champion trainer says forecast soft ground not ideal for any of his five contenders
Aidan O’Brien: “Magic Wand is in good form and we’ve been happy with her since Chester. She’s progressed with all her runs so far this year.”
It is 20 years since the Ballydoyle handler first claimed the fillies’ Classic with Shahtoush and he has since stretched his tally to six with Imagine (2001), Alexandrova (2006), Was (2012), Qualify (2015) and Minding (2016).
This year’s challenge is headed by Magic Wand and Forever Together, who finished first and second respectively in the Cheshire Oaks a little over three weeks ago.
O’Brien said: “Magic Wand is in good form and we’ve been happy with her since Chester. She’s progressed with all her runs so far this year. I’m not sure about the ground. She ran in bad ground the first day and ran well, but she progressed a lot to her second run.
“I don’t think the soft ground is ideal for any of ours, really, but I suppose a lot of horses are in the same boat.”
Of Forever Together, the trainer added: “She’s in good form and ran very well at Chester too. She has come forward as well, we think.
“Obviously the ground we’re not sure about but we’re happy with her.”
Bye Bye Baby is another interesting contender for the all-conquering team following a Group Three triumph in the Blue Wind Stakes at the Curragh.
Lingfield Oaks Trial third Flattering and I Can Fly, who disappointed in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, complete the O’Brien team.
“Bye Bye Baby has form with ease in the ground. She stays and is a tough, hardy filly,” said O’Brien.
“She seems to have handled the soft ground in the past and is in good form since the Curragh.
“Flattering has form on soft ground as well, and we’ve always thought she would stay a mile and a half. She’s been in good form since Lingfield.
“I Can Fly is in good form. She was disappointing in the Guineas and we’re not sure of the reason why. She’s out of a Montjeu mare so we think, and hope, that she might get the trip. She will be ridden patiently. We’re happy with her and her work has been very nice since Newmarket.”