Aidan O’Brien is expecting Mother Earth to put up a bold bid for Breeders’ Cup Mile glory at Del Mar on Saturday.
The 1000 Guineas winner has not always enjoyed the best of luck this season – most notably in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
But she has also claimed Group One honours in the Prix Rothschild and was far from disgraced against Baaeed and company when fifth in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day.
“Mother Earth has been unlucky and I thought her last run at Ascot could be her best as she clocked the final two furlongs better than any other horse’s time in the race,” the Ballydoyle trainer said.
“She can on the other hand be at the mercy of a slow pace sometimes, but though in an ideal world maybe a little lower (drawn) would have helped her, I still think she’s not drawn badly (in stall nine). She travels well and quickens well and she’s in great form.”
It is a small but select team for O’Brien this year, and he remains open-minded on his prospects in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, where Japan and Broome are his two representatives.
Should either not be 100 per cent at the weekend or runners from other stables come out, the Ballydoyle handler has back-up with Bolshoi Ballet as first reserve and Mogul third reserve to take their place.
“In the Turf we have two that got in, but things can change. Bolshoi Ballet is first reserve and we shall keep checking the temperatures of Broome and Japan up to the 8am deadline (for scratches) on Saturday,” said O’Brien, who 12 months ago saw Order Of Australia and Lope Y Fernandez make the Mile as reserves.
“Broome gets a mile and a half well and is a relentless galloper with good form. The plan is for him and Japan to go on to the Japan Cup (after the Breeders’ Cup). They both have Japanese owners.
“Japan has run some very good races, but he’s got chopped the last twice. He was chopped with Wayne (Lordan) on board and again when he ran at Saratoga.
“We were surprised the Turf was so over-subscribed, but we have horses that could still end up getting in and things can change. Look at Order Of Australia, who was third reserve before he won in Keeneland.”
Love was switched to the Filly & Mare Turf to accommodate her stablemates in the Turf, and O’Brien reports the multiple Group One-winning filly to be at the top of her game.
“In the Filly & Mare I’m really looking forward to saddling Love. She is in good order. Yes we trained her for the Turf, but with what happened in that we had to rehash,” he said.
“I always thought the ground out here would be perfect for her, and there’s a possibility she will go to Hong Kong (Vase or Cup) afterwards.
O’Brien believes Glounthaune will be suited by the track and the distance when he lines up for the Juvenile Turf.
The Kodiac colt made a wining debut in April, but did not reappear until last month when he contested the Dewhurst Stakes before landing a Group Three at Leopardstown a week later.
“Our only juvenile runner Glounthaune took a long time to be ready to run and the Middle Park came a bit soon. So we ran him in the Dewhurst before backing him up very quickly when he won, but he doesn’t do much when he gets there.
“He’s only had three races and a mile round here ought to suit him,” O’Brien added.
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