Ryan Moore’s injury offers an opportunity for Joseph O’Brien
O’Brien will ride Archangel Raphael at the Longchamp €600,000 Grand Prix de Paris
Joseph O’Brien: the 22-year-old has had problems with his weight. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Ryan Moore’s injury misfortune could turn into Group 1 opportunity for Joseph O’Brien when the Irishman teams up with Archangel Raphael in Longchamp’s €600,000 “Bastille Day” highlight, the Grand Prix de Paris.
As Ballydoyle’s newly appointed number one jockey faces a potentially lengthy spell on the sidelines after his Newmarket spill last week, O’Brien steps in for what could be the first of a series of opportunities in the coming weeks.
Just six line up for a mile-and-a-half contest due off at 6.25 Irish time. Bookmakers rate Archangel Raphael an outsider for a race including the English-trained pair, Storm The Stars and Balios, as well as a trio of home hopes headed by Andre Fabre’s, Ampere.
Fabre has exerted a stranglehold on the Grand Prix de Paris with 13 victories over the years but Aidan O’Brien has struck twice, with Scorpion in 2005, and also Imperial Monarch who his son rode in 2012.
That was one of a dozen Group 1 wins for Joseph O’Brien in 2012 alone, and while the 22-year-old’s problems with weight led to Moore’s appointment at the start of this season, circumstances now appear to allow him a chance to add to a remarkable Group 1 strike-rate.
Australia’s two Derby wins last year resulted in O’Brien notching seven Group 1’s in 2014, equalling his 2013 tally.
Together Forever’s Dubai Fillies Mile success in October was the last of them but few will dismiss Archangel Raphael’s chance despite the Montjeu colt’s only start this year having been in an ordinary three-runner race at Fairyhouse just nine days ago. “He won well and the step up to a mile and a half didn’t give him any problems. He’s a horse that has been progressing well at home,” the trainer said.
In contrast Storm The Stars has been taking on the elite, finishing third to Golden Horn in the Epsom Derby and then chasing home Jack Hobbs in the Irish Derby.
“He thrives on his racing - that’s why he’s running,” said trainer William Haggas. “It’s very unlike me to run a horse six times in a season but with each race he has improved and I hope he can do the same again. This was never on the agenda, but he came out of the Irish Derby very well and the owner put the idea in my mind – I hope it pays off for him.”
Balios jumped into the big-race reckoning with an impressive defeat of Mr Singh in Royal Ascot’s King Edward VII Stakes last month and trainer David Simcock said: “This was the obvious race to go for. It’s very tight and competitive but he handles fast ground well. He’s a Group 2 winner and we need to step him up.”
Gallante last year was the last of Fabre’s 13 winners and the O’Brien team have a form tie to Ampere as he defeated Archangel Raphael’s stable companion Cape Clear Island in May’s Prix Hocquart.
Another big French hope will be the unbeaten Erupt, a Group 3 winner at Chantilly on his last start, who carries the famous Niarchos colours.