Joseph O’Brien’s St Leger winner Galileo Chrome has been retired to stand as a National Hunt stallion at Starfield Stud.
The colt went through his three-year-old season unbeaten in four outings, progressing with each race.
The son of Australia was ridden by Tom Marquand at Doncaster, after regular rider Shane Crosse tested positive for Covid-19 before making the journey.
O’Brien said: “Australia was one of the best I rode and Galileo Chrome is easily one of the best I’ve trained.
“Unbeaten this year culminating in the St Leger, I think he could have been the leading middle-distance horse in Europe next year.
“However, fortunately for breeders, he retires to stud and offers an opportunity to use a top-class racehorse. He’s a beautiful looking individual with all the qualities I look for. I could not recommend him enough and look forward to training his offspring.”
Michael Orlandi, who manages the Compas Stallions who stand at his Starfield Stud in Mullingar, County Westmeath, said: “A tall, scopey, athletic individual with a fantastic walk, Galileo Chrome was one of the best three-year-olds in training this year.
“A great physical, with a star-studded pedigree, he is everything that National Hunt breeders look for in a stallion.”
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Fakiera finished with a flourish to claim a last-gasp victory in the BetVictor Casino “Monksfield” Novice Hurdle at Navan.
Gordon Elliott had saddled three of the last four winners of the Grade Three contest in Death Duty (2016), Samcro (2017) and Fury Road (2019), and this year fired a twin assault, with 4-1 shot Fakiera the apparent second string behind the previously unbeaten Farouk D’alene.
The latter, who was the even-money favourite, made much of the running under Jack Kennedy, but displayed a tendency to jump and hang to his right and ultimately weakened to finish fourth.
Fakiera had opened his hurdling account at the fourth attempt with a narrow success at Fairyhouse at the start of the month following three successive runner-up finishes.
He looked booked for a place at best between the final two flights, but powered home in the hands of Keith Donoghue to get up and beat Fire Attack by half a length.
Donoghue said: “He did it well. He travelled easy during the race and was probably doing a little bit too much.
“He relaxed coming out of the back straight and I wasn’t in a rush with him as I knew he’d come home well.
“Stamina is his thing and he did well to win over two miles last time. We always knew with a step up in trip that he would improve.”
The Willie Mullins-trained Blackbow made an impressive start to his career over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners’ Chase.
A high-class bumper performer, the seven-year-old failed to get his head in front in four hurdling starts last season, but jumped slickly on his chasing bow under David Mullins and passed the post just over four lengths clear of hot favourite Entoucas.
“He jumped very well. He got his own way in front and that helps a free horse,” said the winning jockey.
“He’s well able to jump and when he relaxes he just shows what he can do. He’s a classy horse when he puts it all together.”
Castra Vetera gave weight and a sound beating to her rivals in the Listed Coolmore N.H. Sires Irish EBF Mares INH Flat Race.
Carrying a double penalty for previous bumper wins at Fairyhouse and Naas, Joseph O’Brien’s charge received a positive ride from Tom Hamilton and dug deep at the business end to repel the challenge of Party Central by almost four lengths.
O’Brien’s assistant, Brendan Powell, said: “Tom said there was going to be no pace and she stays well – she galloped them into the ground.
“She’s done a lot of schooling at home and jumps very well. I’d presume that will be the route she’ll take now and she could be good.”
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Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien will work together as one of 12 teams in the Racing League competition which launches next summer.
The new initiative will see teams compete across 36 races – with each event worth £50,000 and total prize-money of £1.8million – over six weeks at Newcastle, Doncaster, Lingfield and Windsor.
The O’Briens will form the Irish team, with Tim Easterby and Richard Fahey representing the north while Charlie Fellowes, Hugo Palmer and George Scott are combining to form the first Newmarket-based squad.
There are three teams in the south, comprising of Andrew Balding and Richard Hannon as one side, George Baker, David Menuisier, Gary Moore and Amanda Perrett as another, with Wiltshire-based trainers, Roger Charlton, Alan King, Martyn Meade and Brian Meehan also banding together.
Six teams are still to be announced, with each outfit nominating 30 horses and three jockeys, plus a team manager who will decide on a selection for each race.
Oli Harris, Racing League’s chief marketing officer, said: “We’re thrilled by the broad range of support from trainers. We will shortly confirm the remaining six teams followed by details of the jockeys chosen to represent each team.”
In a change to previously stated rules, and with regard for the British Horsracing Authority’s review of the current whip rules which due to be published next year, the competition will no longer be a ‘hands and heels’ event in 2021.
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Joseph O’Brien once again denied his father Aidan in the Lexus Melbourne Cup as Twilight Payment made all to lift the Group One contest at Flemington.
The trainer registered his first win when Rekindling held off O’Brien snr’s Johannes Vermeer by half a length in 2017, and the distance was the same this time around as Tiger Moth just failed to reel in the Jye McNeil-ridden winner.
Charlie Fellowes’ British raider Prince Of Arran, placed in the last two Melbourne Cups, came agonisingly close to victory once again, finishing with purpose to be beaten a head in third in a race that was marred by the death of last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, who was euthanised after fracturing a fetlock.
Of beating his father once again in the Australian event, O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing: “We both realise how hard it is to win on the world stage in these big, big races, but I am very lucky that I have been able to win a couple of big races.
“Dad has been very lucky, he has won a lot of big races, I’d be delighted for him if he had won, and I’m sure he is for me having won. We do our best on the track and whatever happens out there happens.
“I was really too nervous to see what was going to happen. I was hardly able to watch, but it was a fantastic ride by Jye and a fantastic effort by all the lads with the horse.”
McNeil executed a perfect front-running ride, with the field well strung out on the home turn before Twilight Payment, who was previously trained by Jim Bolger and finished 11th in the race last year, kept finding for pressure in the finish.
McNeil told www.racing.com: “I encouraged him (Twilight Payment) to go forward, because that was the plan. Then he just found such a lovely tempo at the top. It was just a matter of amping the rhythm up at just the right stage and I am glad it all worked out.
“Joseph wanted me to be a step ahead of the field and really get them chasing. What he lacks in class, he makes up in his staying ability.
“I’m peaking on my run 200m out. I’m using all of my might not to use too many whips, very vocal, trying to encourage him.
“It was very surreal crossing the line in front. I’ve got goosebumps from then and they’re still here now.”
O’Brien added: “Jye gave the horse a fantastic ride. Credit goes to the lads who have looked after Twilight Payment for the last month or so. They’ve done a fantastic job with the horses down there.”
Kerrin McEvoy was thrilled with Tiger Moth’s effort in second, beaten half a length, on what was only his fifth career start, but there was a sting in the tail for the rider, who was fined $50,000 and banned for 13 meetings for misusing his whip.
McEvoy pleaded guilty to the charge after it was found he hit Moth 13 times before the 100-metre (half-furlong) mark and 21 times in total. He is not permitted to strike his mount more than five times before the 100-metre mark.
McEvoy said: “It was a great run for a young horse having only his fifth start in a race. He’s run really well.”
Fellowes and rider Jamie Kah were ruing their luck after Prince Of Arran endured a troubled passage at the top of the straight, before flying home to claim third, adding to his second of last year and third in 2018.
The Newmarket handler said: “He’s a remarkable horse. He’s done everything right and if he had enjoyed a bit more luck, he could well have gone even closer.
“He was just very unlucky on the home bend. Jamie had him in a perfect position, she got him into a good rhythm and then he couldn’t find a run, which we knew was a risk from his draw, but he’s run a great race.
“Take nothing away from the winner though – Jye McNeil gave him a brilliant and brave ride from the front and he got his fractions absolutely spot on. The best horse won on the day.”
Prince Of Arran is now likely to head to the Saudi Cup meeting at Riyadh in February, with Fellowes not planning too far ahead with his stable star.
He added: “I just felt this year was his year. He had a perfect preparation and it looked a winnable race, but we just needed a bit more luck.
“We will get him home and see how he is, but Saudi Arabia would likely be the next stop.
“We will just take it one race at a time with him. He’s a seven-year-old and while he does save a bit for himself, which perhaps could give him a longer shelf life at that top level, if ever we were worried about him, either in preparation or after a race, we wouldn’t take any chances.
“He’s an amazing horse and owes us nothing.”
https://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/2.54641185-scaled.jpg12802560Geegeez Newshttps://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/geegeez_banner_new_300x100.pngGeegeez News2020-11-03 09:14:572020-11-03 09:14:57Joseph O’Brien strikes Melbourne gold again with Twilight Payment
Joseph O’Brien sent out his second winner of the Lexus Melbourne Cup as Twilight Payment triumphed in the Group One contest at Flemington.
O’Brien claimed the two-mile event with Rekindling in 2017 and he again was on the mark as Jye McNeil’s mount fended off Tiger Moth, trained by O’Brien’s father Aidan, to take the prize.
Charlie Fellowes’ British raider Prince Of Arran, placed in the last two Melbourne Cups, again finished with a flourish to take third.
However, the race was marred by a fatal injury to last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, who was euthanised after fracturing a fetlock.
McNeil had his mount prominent throughout with Tiger Moth also to the fore in the early stages before settling back into third.
With five furlongs to run, the 23-strong field was well strung out and Twilight Payment was winding it up in front and Twilight Payment had lengths to spare entering the closing stages.
However, Tiger Moth charged home late, but Joseph O’Brien again denied his father, as he did three years ago when Rekindling beat Johannes Vermeer.
O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing: “Jye gave the horse a fantastic ride. Credit goes to the lads who have looked after Twilight Payment for the last month or so. They’ve done a fantastic job with the horses down there.
“This was our first full year with him, he came to us halfway through last year. Going through the summer, he ran a couple of huge races at the Curragh.
“I was worried today he might have got a bit of pressure on the lead, but the horse has an incredible heart and Jye gave him a fantastic ride and he has a huge will to win.”
Twilight Payment was previously trained by Jim Bolger, until he was bought by Lloyd Williams, who also owned Rekindling.
O’Brien said: “It’s a privilege to train for the people that I train for and the horses that we have.
“We really appreciate the support and the success when it comes, but it’s a tough game as everybody knows and it’s a fine line from the top and the bottom. I’m just very appreciative.
“The proof that he got the fractions spot on is watching the race when you see Tiger Moth finish, but the horse is incredible and I’m just thankful of the support and the work everyone has done with the horse, at home as well.”
Of beating his father once again in the Australian event, O’Brien added: “We both realise how hard it is to win on the world stage in these big, big races, but I am very lucky that I have been able to win a couple of big races.
“Dad has been very lucky, he has won a lot of big races, I’d be delighted for him if he had won, and I’m sure he is for me having won. We do our best on the track and whatever happens out there happens.
“I was really too nervous to see what was going to happen. I was hardly able to watch, but it was a fantastic ride by Jye and a fantastic effort by all the lads with the horse.”
Kerrin McEvoy was thrilled with Tiger Moth’s effort in second, beaten half a length, on what was only his fifth career start.
He told www.racing.com: “We were able to get across into a nice spot. We dropped in and got a nice lead and he travelled really well.
“The winner kept running, I just had to pick up to get into the race, which he did, but the winner was just a bit strong today.
“It was a great run for a young horse having only his fifth start in a race. He’s run really well.”
Prince Of Arran was finishing fastest of all at the line and jockey Jamie Kah was left ruing her luck after their three-quarter-length defeat.
She said: “He was super unlucky. He really deserves it. He just had no luck on the turn.”
Fellowes tweeted: “Incredibly proud of Prince Of Arran. Another wonderful run in Australia’s great race. Thank you @AledBeech for looking after him so well, thank you Jamie Kah for a lovely ride, thank you to the Obaida family for sending him to me to train. 4th time lucky next year?”
The Willie Mullins-trained Stratum was 20th and jockey Jordan Childs said: “He ran OK. We got up on a nice spot, travelled good. They were just a bit slick for him when the pace quickened.”
Dashing Willoughby beat just one horse home for trainer Andrew Balding.
His rider Michael Walker said: “He’s not right, the horse. He’s not right. Action-wise he’s not right.”
German runner Ashrun finished 10th while last year’s winner Vow And Declare was 18th.
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David Egan shrugged off losing the plum ride on Mishriff at Ascot on Saturday by steering Traisha to victory in the feature British Stallion Studs EBF Beckford Stakes at Bath.
Egan is retained by Prince Faisal, who has given the ride on the French Derby winner in the Qipco Champion Stakes to Frankie Dettori.
The young jockey put that behind him to take the Listed honours on Irish raider Traisha, trained by Joseph O’Brien.
“Frankie won on him (Mishriff) the last day when I wasn’t able to go due to a suspension, but hopefully I’ll have another good day on him sometime,” Egan told Sky Sports Racing.
“It’s part of racing. The Prince has been very good to me. He sent me to Saudi where I finished second on him and I won a nice race in Newmarket, so it’s been a good connection with the Prince and I’m still retained to him. It’s just on this occasion he decided to use Frankie and I respect his decision.
“For his horses, he pays a lot of money. His breeding operation is probably very important for this next ride so he wants the best in the business, so I can’t give out to myself being jocked off by the best.”
Egan showed his talent with a composed ride on Traisha (4-1), who bounded clear on the far side rail in the final furlong to land the Listed spoils by three lengths from Urban Artist.
“When the gap came two out, I either had to commit or wait sitting and I decided to go,” he said.
“She had a little look in the last furlong, but she is a very straight-forward filly and Joseph was confident beforehand.”
O’Brien said: “She has been consistent and progressive all year. It’s nice to win a stakes race with her. She’s a very well-bred filly.
“There’s a chance she might stay in training next year. The decision will be with the owners so we’ll wait and see, but there is a chance.”
Megan Nicholls revealed she has taken out a licence to ride over jumps after guiding Quel Destin (5-4 favourite) home for her father Paul in the Signs Express Handicap.
The 3lb-claiming apprentice did mix both codes earlier in her career, but has concentrated solely on the Flat since 2015.
“I will be here for the all-weather and also I’ve just got my jumps licence back out. It’s no big job, we’re not aiming for a National or anything like that, but hopefully for a few bumpers,” she said.
“I would ride over hurdles if Kev (partner, Kevin Stott) allows me. We’ll see what happens. The main thing is we’ll get going again on some of those bumper horses.
“Sometimes when the jumps are snowed off, they have jumpers bumpers at Lingfield, Kempton and Wolverhampton. I ride at those tracks a bit more regularly, so hopefully (I can) have a bit of fun with some of them.”
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Joseph O’Brien is lining up a twin assault on next year’s Guineas meeting with Fillies’ Mile winner Pretty Gorgeous and Dewhurst third Thunder Moon.
While it is not set in stone that neither will run again this year, O’Brien appears to be thinking that way at the moment, as he reflect on two big performances.
What made the victory of Pretty Gorgeous more special for O’Brien was that she was ridden by Shane Crosse, who missed the win on Galileo Chrome in the St Leger having tested positive for Covid-19.
“They both ran great, I was very proud of them and they are two exciting horses going forward,” O’Brien told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.
“It was a fantastic performance from Pretty Gorgeous, Shane gave her a confident ride, she was tough when she had to be and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
“It gave me a lot of satisfaction to see Shane win a Group One. Obviously what happened before was unfortunate missing the Leger, but that is the way things go and it was out of everyone’s control.
“It was great for him to get a Group One win and I’m sure he’ll have plenty more in the future.
“It looks like she’s finished for the year, I’d say we’ll put her away and train her for the Guineas.”
Thunder Moon had finished in front of Dewhurst one-two St Mark’s Basilica and Wembley when winning the National Stakes, but the form turned around at Newmarket on a softer surface.
“I’d say, I might be biased, but the ground was far from ideal,” said O’Brien.
“He travelled extremely well. We didn’t have an ideal draw given how the races had been run all day and he was just found out in the last half a furlong in the tough going. He’s exciting going forward.
“The Curragh race probably wasn’t as strongly run as the Dewhurst, but the ground was the biggest variation from the Curragh. I think they are three very good colts and I’m not suggesting for any minute we’re going to beat them the next time we meet, but I think we’d prefer better ground.
“I don’t know if he’s necessarily going to be a sprinter, but it suggests he’ll be a quick miler who’ll appreciate top of the ground.
“He’s out of a Sadler’s Wells mare from a middle-distance family and I’d be very hopeful of him staying a mile next season.
“It’s very unlikely he’ll go to America (Breeders’ Cup). We’ll keep options open but at the moment we’re looking at the Guineas, like with Pretty Gorgeous.”
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Thunder Moon bids to double his top-level tally in a mouthwatering renewal of the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
A runaway winner on his Curragh debut in early August, Joseph O’Brien’s juvenile then rocketed to the head of ante-post lists for next year’s 2000 Guineas after displaying a blistering turn of foot to land last month’s National Stakes at the Curragh.
O’Brien managed to win the Dewhurst as a jockey aboard his father Aidan’s War Command in 2013, and has high hopes of getting his name on the roll of honour as a trainer on Saturday.
“We’re looking forward to the race. Hopefully the ground dries out as much as possible and we’ll see what happens,” said O’Brien, who took the Fillies’ Mile on Friday with Pretty Gorgeous.
“We were delighted with him at the Curragh and he’s been in good form since.
“The Dewhurst is always a very good race and I’m sure it will be again.”
Aidan O’Brien saddles National Stakes second and third, Wembley and St Mark’s Basilica, in a bid for a seventh Dewhurst success.
He said: “Both ran very nice races last time out in the National Stakes, obviously St Mark’s Basilica was supposed to run in France last week and they would have been kept apart, but that’s the way it is.
“Both have been in good form since their last runs.”
Jim Bolger also has a fine Dewhurst record with five victories and is represented by an interesting outsider in Poetic Flare, who has not been seen since making a winning debut in the very first race of the Irish Flat turf season at Naas in March.
Bolger said: “He hasn’t run because he started to grow – he’s grown two inches since March and I didn’t want to push him.
“That’s all settled down now. He’s been fine since the beginning of August and we’ve had an uninterrupted preparation since.
“I thought it would be good to get him away before the end of the year. I think he’ll go on any ground.”
A formidable Irish challenge is headed by Jessica Harrington’s Group Two winner Cadillac.
The home team is headed by the Richard Hannon-trained Chindit, who extended his unbeaten record to three in the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last month.
The Marlborough maestro also saddles a second unbeaten colt in Etonian, who has won twice at Sandown, most recently claiming the Group Three Solario Stakes in August.
“Both horses are fit and well and good to go. We’ve not managed to win the Dewhurst yet, so let’s hope this is our chance,” said Hannon.
“Chindit’s last bit of work with a couple of older horses was very good for a two-year-old. He seems in very good form.
“Etonian has done nothing wrong either. It’s a shame we have to run them against each other really, but this is the right race for both horses and the Dewhurst is always the best two-year-old race of the year.”
Leading owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum has a strong hand after Marcus Tregoning’s impressive Mill Reef scorer Alkumait was supplemented to join the Owen Burrows-trained Albasheer. The owner’s retained rider Jim Crowley has sided with Alkumait.
Tregoning said: “I think he’ll stay seven furlongs fine. I suppose seven furlongs in soft ground makes it more of a test, but Showcasing’s progeny are versatile.
“He’ll give himself every chance of getting the trip because he settles well, or at least he did at Newbury, and if he settles as well again, I can’t see seven being a problem
“I think Chindit might be the one to beat. He looked tough at Doncaster, he had to battle but came through it well.
“It’s the right race for us, though, and I’m pleased he’s running.”
Albasheer was beaten just a length into second place by Chindit at Doncaster four weeks ago, having run out an impressive winner on his debut on Town Moor. With Crowley opting for Alkumait, Dane O’Neill takes the ride.
Burrows said: “I’ve been happy with him since Doncaster. He did his last proper piece of work on Saturday and had a breeze midweek.
“He is inexperienced and this will be different for him. I’d like to think wherever Chindit finishes, we would be bang there with him – whether or not that is good enough to win, time will tell.
“On his pedigree he should get a mile next year and we will look to go down that route. God willing he is good enough to be talked as a Guineas horse, but we will learn a lot more on Saturday.”
Andrew Balding has two chance in the shape of Mill Reef runner-up Fivethousandtoone and the Queen’s Tactical, who was fourth in the Middle Park having earlier won the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot.
Balding said: “Both horses have shown a good level of form and seem in good form.
“Ground conditions could be different to what they’ve encountered before and that is going to play a part, but they’re both in good shape.”
A stellar field is completed by Decisive Edge (Brian Meehan), Devilwala (Ralph Beckett) and Devious Company (Tom Dascombe).
Pretty Gorgeous toughed it out at Newmarket to give Joseph O’Brien his second victory in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile as a trainer.
Ridden by Shane Crosse – who should have been aboard the yard’s St Leger winner Galileo Chrome last month, only to miss the ride after a positive test for Covid-19 – the Lawman filly got the better of Indigo Girl by half a length.
Pretty Gorgeous had missed her own intended target last weekend, as she was caught up in the contaminated feed issue that led to the O’Brien family runners being withdrawn at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
The chief threat came from John Gosden’s Indigo Girl, winner of both her previous outings including an impressive success in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster.
Indigo Girl made ground seamlessly from the rear – but Pretty Gorgeous, who had been closer to the pace, then quickened away.
It was to Indigo Girl’s credit that she made a second challenge, but she could only get to within half a length of the 5-2 favourite, with 50-1 chance Snowfall in third.
O’Brien had previously taken the race in 2018 with Iridessa.
He said: “It’s fantastic and I thought Shane gave the filly a great ride.
“He was patient on her and committed when he had to. Shane is a young man, but he is a very good rider – strong and cool in a finish, and he doesn’t panic. She was fighting them off at the line.
“She has got a great constitution. She went to France last weekend and came back. The lad that rides her out at home said she had taken the journey well and was in good shape, and all credit goes to them as they said she would come here with every chance.
“I was quite worried myself and I had a good conversation with Mr (John) Oxley during the week and he was keen enough that if she was in good shape that we would take the chance and let her run.
“The way it worked out the French race looked a tough race and the ground was nicer here. She has won her Group One and whether that was here or France, I wouldn’t be fussy. It has worked out well in the end.”
He went on: “She is an exciting filly going forwards. I would think (the 1000 Guineas) is the obvious target now. She has the options of the Breeders’ Cup, but we will probably decide to put her away for the season.
“She is a Lawman, so she would not be bred to go very far. I think Lawman’s can get 10 furlongs and I see her more as an eight to 10-furlong filly rather than an Oaks-type filly at this stage.”
Of Indigo Girl, Gosden said: “It was a great run and I’m very happy with her.
“Her mother won the French St Leger and her sister won a Group One over a mile and a half. She will be trained more for a mile and a quarter and middle-distance races. She won’t be trained as a Guineas filly.”
Donnacha and Joseph O’Brien are both looking forward to a fourth clash between Shale and Pretty Gorgeous in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile.
Shale gave younger brother Donnacha the bragging rights when showing Pretty Gorgeous the way home in the Silver Flash at Leopardstown in early August, before the latter comprehensively gained her revenge in the Debutante Stakes at the Curragh a couple of weeks later.
Shale came out on top by three-quarters of a length when the pair met for the trilogy in last month’s Moyglare Stud Stakes, and her trainer is hoping she can double her Group One tally at Newmarket on Friday.
He said: “The ground is probably going to be a bit softer than ideal, but she’s in good form and we’re hoping for a big run.
“There’s not a lot between our filly and Joseph’s, obviously. I think the step up in trip is going to suit my one, so it will be good fun watching them run against each other and I’m sure it will be another good race.
“There’s some other smart fillies in the race and it will be interesting to see how the Irish and English form lines stack up.”
Pretty Gorgeous had been due to contest the Prix Marcel Boussac at ParisLongchamp, but was declared a non-runner after all horses trained by the O’Brien family were withdrawn from their races on Arc day due to issues surrounding contaminated feed.
Her trainer said: “She’s in good shape. It looks a very good race and we’re looking forward to seeing her run.
“We’re obviously meeting Donnacha’s filly again and it will be interesting to see how it goes.
“It’s probably not the ideal preparation after last weekend, but we’re hoping for a good run.
“She has handled a bit of juice in the ground.”
Aidan O’Brien saddles a couple of outsiders in Mother Earth and Snowfall, while the home team is headed by the unbeaten Indigo Girl, who bids to provide John Gosden with a fifth Fillies’ Mile success.
Impressive on her racecourse debut at Yarmouth, Indigo Girl successfully graduated to Group Two class less than a fortnight later in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster.
Indigo Girl is reopposed by the second, third and fourth from the May Hill in Dubai Fountain (Mark Johnston), Zabeel Queen (Roger Varian) and Lilac Road (William Haggas).
Isabella Giles has won four of her five starts for Clive Cox and earned her step up to the Group One level by winning the Group Two Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket a fortnight ago.
“She’s been a very pleasing filly and has enjoyed easy ground, which she’s likely to get on Friday,” said Cox.
“We’re obviously stepping up to a mile, but she’s come out of the Rockfel so well and we’re pleased she’s taking this step.
“It’s a strong race, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Seattle Rock (Sylvester Kirk) and Star Of Emaraaty (Kevin Ryan) complete the 11-strong field.
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Aidan and Joseph O’Brien’s Australian runners have been tested by Racing Victoria after the duo were forced to pull out all their runners on Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe card due to an issue with contaminated feed.
A total of 10 horses across the two yards arrived in Melbourne on Friday night and are currently completing their two-week quarantine at the International Horse Centre in Werribee.
However, the runners, which include Melbourne Cup fancy Tiger Moth and Caulfield Cup hope Anthony Van Dyck, are all undergoing out-of-competition testing after it emerged their feed could have contained zilpaterol – potentially from batches of feed supplied by Gain Equine Nutrition.
The O’Briens pulled out their ParisLongchamp runners after they tested positive for the banned substance, and Racing Victoria has taken samples from the team’s horses to check whether they have also been affected.
A statement said: “Racing Victoria (RV) can advise that its Integrity Services team are liaising with Irish trainers Aidan and Joseph O’Brien regarding the circumstances that led to the stable scratching runners in France and Ireland across the weekend due to concerns regarding the alleged contamination of horse feed that it utilises.
“Reports from both trainers and international racing authorities are that feed used by both stables has been found in Europe to be contaminated with the prohibited substance zilpaterol.
“Zilpaterol is classified as a beta-agonist. Beta-agonists, such as the commonly used clenbuterol, are medications that primarily have an effect on an animal’s breathing. They are permitted for therapeutic use but are a prohibited substance in a horse’s system on raceday.
“For clarity, beta-agonists are not classified as anabolic steroids under the Australian Rules of Racing and thus the detection of a beta-agonist does not carry a mandatory stand down period. Beta-agonists are also not classified as a growth hormone under the Rules of Racing.
“Following discussions with the O’Brien stables, RV stewards have today conducted out of competition testing on their horses at Werribee to determine whether zilpaterol is currently in any of the horse’s systems. The results of these tests may take up to one week.
“Furthermore, both stables have confirmed to RV stewards today that they have ceased using feed from the provider in question.
“RV stewards will continue to work with the O’Brien stables regarding the situation and will make a further comment once the result of the out of competition tests are known and the stables have been notified.”
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Joseph O’Brien is in no rush to firm up future plans for his Pertemps St Leger hero Galileo Chrome.
The Australia colt was well fancied for the final Classic of the British Flat season at Doncaster on Saturday, having won each of his three previous starts this season at the Curragh, Leopardstown and Navan.
Galileo Chrome displayed class and courage to come out on top under a delighted Tom Marquand – a late substitute in the saddle for Irish apprentice Shane Crosse, who was forced to watch on from home after testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday.
O’Brien’s charge has now returned to County Kilkenny and the Piltown handler is keen to let the dust settle before considering the next course of attack.
“He’s home safe and sound. We were delighted with his performance and it was a special day,” he said.
“We’ll discuss things with his owners. We have a few different options for him and there’ll be no decision on where we go just yet.
“He’s entered in plenty of races and we can put him in any races he’s not in.
“At this stage we’ll just wait and see how he comes out of the race, speak with the owners and take it from there.”
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The Dewhurst Stakes is a possible next port of call for Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon following his impressive display at the Curragh on Sunday.
An emphatic winner on his racecourse debut over the course and distance little over a month ago, the son of Zoffany faced a big step up in class for the Group One National Stakes.
However, O’Brien’s youngster vindicated his trainer’s decision to supplement for the race – displaying a devastating change of gear to leave his rivals trailing in his wake and rocket to the head of ante-post lists for next year’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The Piltown handler watched the action at the Curragh unfold from home as a precaution following jockey Shane Crosse’s positive test for Covid-19 on Friday.
Speaking on Monday morning, O’Brien said of Thunder Moon: “We were very happy with him. It was a bit of a messy race, but he showed a great turn of foot to go away and win well.
“We did supplement him, so we were hopeful he’d run a nice race, but I suppose I was surprised by the manner of his victory.”
Considering future plans, he added: “If he was to run again this year, the Dewhurst would probably be the race for him, but we’ll see how he comes out of the race on Sunday and a lot will depend on the ground as well.
“The Breeders’ Cup is there as an option as well, but that wouldn’t be on my radar at the moment.
“He’s an exciting colt.”
O’Brien was widely expected to land top-level honours in the preceding Moyglare Stud Stakes with Pretty Gorgeous, who was a hot favourite to supplement her course and distance win in the Debutante.
However, Debutante runner-up Shale – trained by Joseph’s brother Donnacha – reversed the form with a narrow success.
O’Brien said: “Pretty Gorgeous ran a great race. I think the two of them are very good fillies and whichever one of them gets the rub of the green on the day might come out on top.
“We’ll see how our filly comes out of it, but we have the option of the Fillies’ Mile or the Prix Marcel Boussac and there’s also the Breeders’ Cup.
“We’ll see how we go, but I’d say she probably just wants one more run this year, with Newmarket and France being the likeliest options.”
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Thunder Moon ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh on just his second start.
Joseph O’Brien’s youngster is now joint-favourite with some bookmakers for next year’s 2000 Guineas, such was the authority of his display.
The Group One contest was robbed of a little of its lustre when Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Ascot winner Battleground was ruled out, but it still had the look of being the best race of its type this season.
There was no doubt Thunder Moon was being asked a big question after just one run – but the way he quickened up suggests he is a colt of the highest order.
Out of luck in the Moyglare half an hour earlier with Pretty Gorgeous, Declan McDonogh was briefly short for room when Master Of The Seas shot clear, but when a gap opened on the rail, Thunder Moon did not need asking twice and he quickly took advantage.
The son of Zoffany, sent of a 15-2 chance, soon put the race to bed and won by a length and a half from the staying-on Wembley, with St Mark’s Basilica third and Master Of The Seas fourth. Lucky Vega endured a troubled passage and was unplaced.
McDonogh said: “He quickened very well. I was just caught on heels a little and had to bite the bullet and sit and suffer, but he showed great heart when he got a bit of room.
“He was always giving me the feeling that he was going to run them down and he was very impressive. He was impressive the first day, but you never know what you’re beating.
“He’s got a serious will to win because when you are racing and it got tight he just wanted to run by them.”
He added: “The ground was as slow as he wanted, he has a real fast-ground action – fast ground suits him really well. He seemed like he was in third gear all the way.”
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Galileo Chrome provided jockey Tom Marquand with a remarkable first Classic victory in the Pertemps St Leger at Doncaster.
Marquand discovered he would be riding Joseph O’Brien’s colt barely 24 hours before the big race – after regular jockey Shane Crosse became unavailable because of a positive test for Covid-19.
While Crosse must therefore begin his period of isolation in Ireland, Marquand took his place and prevailed by a neck at 4-1 from 16-1 shot Berkshire Rocco, trained by Andrew Balding.
Pyledriver appeared set to make a bold bid for glory before wandering from a true line out on his own on the far side, eventually finishing third, a length further back. Just behind in fourth was Santiago, who was sent off the 5-2 favourite for Aidan O’Brien and Frankie Dettori.
Marquand, who earlier this year lost the ride on English King to Frankie Dettori before the Derby, said: “My heart goes out to Shane Crosse.
“I can’t say how bad I feel for him because we’ve all been in situations where things haven’t gone our way and we’re both relatively young, so I can relate and he’ll be sat at home in pieces, no doubt.
“I guess in racing it all comes back round. No doubt he’ll have his time and I look forward to seeing him do it.”
He added: “I was told I’d got the ride on this horse just before I rode Sacred in the Flying Childers on Friday.
“It really is a dream come true. Classics in Britain are some of the hardest races to come across. Group One races in Britain are equally hard.
“To have my first Group One winner on UK soil in the St Leger for Joseph O’Brien, who when I as growing up was one of the best jockeys in racing and is now training and doing a similar job – it’s mind-blowing to get an opportunity like this.”
O’Brien, watching from home as a Covid-19 precaution rather than attending Irish Champions Weekend, voiced his congratulations to Marquand – and sympathy and encouragement for Crosse.
He said: “It’s fantastic, a great performance from the horse – very tough, genuine and stayed very well.
“Tom gave him a fantastic ride.
“It’s great for Tom. He’s obviously been riding extremely well for a number of years now all over the world – and when he was available, we didn’t have to look any further.
“It’s very well-deserved.”
As for Crosse, he added: “Shane, I’m sure, is obviously gutted to miss the ride on him.
“But Shane’s a young man, and he’s a very talented rider – and he’ll have plenty of big rides in the future.”
O’Brien was himself adding St Leger victory as a trainer to his success when riding Leading Light at Doncaster for his father Aidan seven years ago, having come within three-quarters of a length of landing the Triple Crown with Camelot in 2012.
Unable to witness the action in person on the track, he said: “I’m at home today – Shane obviously had been in the yard during the week, so just as a precaution any of his close contacts are in the process of being tested, and I just haven’t gone racing to err on the side of caution really.
“But I’m enjoying the racing! I’m lucky enough to be able to watch it from home.”
Balding was thrilled with Berkshire Rocco’s performance.
“He wears his heart on his sleeve,” said the Kingsclere trainer.
“He kept digging in. It wasn’t quite enough, but he’s given us all a big thrill.
“There were no hiding places. We had the run of the race, and no excuses.
“I don’t usually shout – but I did today. It’s a race we all want to win, and we’re getting closer, so we’ll keep going.
“He has got options this season, but we’ll wait a few days before making a decision.”
Berkshire Rocco’s jockey Andrea Atzeni added: “He was very straightforward.
“He got into a nice rhythm and picked up all the way to the line. Unfortunately the winner kept finding a bit more. He’ll be a nice horse next year.”
Martin Dwyer reported the William Muir-trained Pyledriver’s stamina just ran out as he moved up in trip after his Group Two wins over a mile and a half this season.
“He didn’t stay – it was too far,” said the jockey.
“He was over-travelling. After York, I said he could come back to a mile and a quarter. He’s a very honest horse.
“It was unnatural for him. There was a point in the race where I should have been working through the gears and picking up, but I’m having to steady him down.
“Turning in, I thought he’d win – but he was tired in the last furlong. He was out of his comfort zone.”
Santiago (5-2 favourite) and Hukum were both well-fancied, but had to settle for fourth and fifth respectively.
Dettori said of the former: “He wants a bit of cut in the ground.
“He came there to win, but he didn’t level off like I thought he would.
“I felt on softer ground mine would be a better horse.”
Hukum’s trainer Owen Burrows added: “It was just the last furlong and a half.
“He was out on his head a bit. He stayed at Newbury, but in lesser company. In this class it was a bit too far for him.
“We always thought he wasn’t a Cup horse. We’ll look forward to next year.”
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