O’Brien hoping for better fortunes in November

Top trainer targets big international prizes following Sunday’s local action at Naas

Aidan O’Brien: experienced an unusually turbulent October. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Aidan O’Brien: experienced an unusually turbulent October. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

Aidan O’Brien will hope Sunday’s Naas card, and the start of November, sets a successful tone for upcoming international action.

The ante-post favourite Tiger Moth and last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck will try to give Ireland’s champion trainer a first Melbourne Cup success in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Later in the week O’Brien is aiming to improve his Breeders Cup record of 12 winners with up to nine possible starters in Keeneland.

They include both Magical and Mogul in the $4 million Turf event. O’Brien is just 10-3 in some lists to have two or more winners over next Friday and Saturday’s action in Kentucky.

Before that though there are ten Ballydoyle starters at Naas as O’Brien puts a turbulent October behind him.

A month that opened with mere ground concerns for Love in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe descended into the contaminated feed debacle which ruled out any Ballydoyle runners at all in the Arc.

It was followed by the bizarre and unprecedented saddle mix-up in the Fillies Mile at Newmarket.

Then there were frustrating runner-up placings in Australia in both the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate – the latter when Armory was denied by his former stable companion Sir Dragonet.

Magic Wand’s retirement followed up the sad loss of Wichita due to a leg injury. Throw in persistent speculation about Ryan Moore’s position as No 1 rider coming under threat from Colin Keane and October has proved unusually tempestuous for O’Brien.

Unparalleled strength

That it has also included Group One wins for St Mark’s Basilica (Dewhurst) and Van Gogh (Criterium International) underlines the unparalleled strength in depth at Ballydoyle.

Such strength looks to be key to the three juvenile races at Naas on Sunday while likely heavy ground shouldn’t be an issue to So Wonderful in the featured Group Three Athasi Stakes.

She took 15 attempts to win a race but with that under her belt So Wonderful graduated to winning the Ruby Stakes on heavy going in Killarney.

The deeper the better it will be for Laughifuwant in the Listed Glencairn Stakes. Ratings suggest the Curragh Cesarewitch winner faces an uphill task but the ground factor is in his favour.

Gavin Cromwell saddles two in Sunday’s Cork Grand National and there was encouragement from Tokyo Getaway’s run over hurdles last time to suggest she is a leading player.

Dreal Deal has only a 5lb mandatory penalty for a handicap hurdle after winning on Wednesday which is significant considering he has got an official two stone hike for that performance.

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