Tag Archive for: State Of Rest

State Of Rest to be aimed at Prince of Wales’s Stakes

Next month’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot looks like being one of the best renewals in recent memory and Joseph O’Brien has confirmed State Of Rest will lead Irish hopes in the 10-furlong contest.

With Bay Bridge sauntering to success in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown on Thursday evening and storming into joint-favouritism with last year’s Derby winner Adayar for the Group One contest on June 15, the home guard appears to have a strong chance of landing the race.

Add in Japan’s Dubai Sheema Classic winner Shahryar, three-time Group One winners Mishriff and Lord North representing John and Thady Gosden, plus Addeybb, who has won four top-flight contests, and the field looks a deep one.

Aidan O’Brien, who has won the race four times, including with Love 12 months ago, could still have a say with Mother Earth among a trio of entries in what could be one of the races of the Flat season. Yet it his son, Joseph, who appears to lead the Irish charge this time.

Joseph O’Brien will lead the charge for Ireland in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes
Joseph O’Brien will lead the charge for Ireland in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Bidding to follow up successive big wins in the Saratoga Derby, Cox Plate and Prix Ganay, State Of Rest finished half a length third to Alenquer in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last Sunday.

“I was very happy with the run,” said O’Brien.

“He has taken it well and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is the logical stepping stone from here, all being well.”

Globetrotting State Of Rest out to realise long-term Curragh plan

Joseph O’Brien’s well-travelled State Of Rest returns to home turf to take on a high-quality field in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on Sunday.

The four-year-old became a Group One winner in three different continents when landing the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp by three-quarters of a length from Pretty Tiger earlier in the month.

Prior to that the colt triumphed in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in Australia and also took the Saratoga Derby in America.

A return to a more familiar setting now beckons at the Curragh, with the Group One feature having long been on O’Brien’s radar for the son of Starspangledbanner.

“We’re very pleased with State Of Rest winning the Ganay last time in France. He won really well, he’s got a tough, hardy attitude and he fought all the way to the line,” he said.

“The plan was always to start there and if that went well to look at the Tattersalls Gold Cup. All being well, he seems to have come through France in good shape, and we are looking forward to the weekend.

“I was lucky enough to win the Tattersalls Gold Cup as a jockey on So You Think and it would very satisfying if we could win it with State Of Rest.

“Ideal conditions are probably good or better, there is a bit of rain forecast but hopefully the ground doesn’t get too soft.”

Should all go to plan, it is likely that Royal Ascot will come under consideration alongside other engagements over a 10-furlong trip.

“We will take it one race at a time, but the Tattersalls Gold Cup has been his early season target for a little while. From there he has a lot of 10-furlong options, looking at Royal Ascot and further afield,” said O’Brien.

State Of Rest (yellow cap) in the bet365 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster
State Of Rest (yellow cap) in the bet365 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We’ll see how we get on, how he comes through there, and then a plan will be made for later in the season.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Lord North also runs closer to home after taking on the Group One Dubai Turf at Meydan on his last start, where he dead-heated with Japanese ace Panthalassa.

Prior to that the Dubawi gelding finished second in the Winter Derby at Lingfield, beaten two and a half lengths by William Haggas’ Alenquer.

“It was a great performance to run as well as he did in Dubai. He has taken that well and had a little bit of time off after the journey,” Thady Gosden said.

“He’s been training well at home, it’s obviously a tough race with State Of Rest coming off the back of winning the Ganay.

John and Thady Gosden's Lord North
John and Thady Gosden’s Lord North (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

“He’s race fit whereas we’ve had a little bit of a break, but the track should suit him and so will the ground at the moment.

“He’s a six-year-old and he is still very much enjoying his training and his racing and behaving as he ever did.”

Lord North and Alenquer will cross paths once again, after the Haggas horse went to Meydan for the Dubai World Cup meeting after their Lingfield clash.

The four-year-old lined up for the Sheema Classic and came home sixth, with Haggas happy with his form at home since the excursion.

“We’ve been very happy with him since he ran in Dubai,” he said.

“The more it rains, the better his chance will be.”

Alenquer winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot
Alenquer winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

Another globetrotting runner preparing to line up at the Curragh is Aidan O’Brien’s Broome, who was second to Helvic Dream last season and has not run on Irish turf since as his international campaign has taken him to France, England, America and Japan.

The Ballydoyle team have a second runner in the shape of High Definition, who has run twice at the Curragh this season in the Alleged and Mooresbridge Stakes.

Helvic Dream is also entered and will look to retain his title, with the Noel Meade-trained gelding only seen once since last season’s victory when fifth behind stablemate Layfayette and the aforementioned High Definition in the Alleged Stakes last month.

Jim Bolger’s Mac Swiney will begin his domestic campaign, with Michael Halford’s Bear Story completing the field of eight.

State Of Rest continues globetrotting domination

State Of Rest won a third Group One race in a third different continent when landing the Prix Ganay for Joseph O’Brien at ParisLongchamp.

The Starspangledbanner colt was last seen winning the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in Australia and prior to that took the Saratoga Derby in America.

The Longchamp run was the bay’s first for 190 days but he showed no signs of rustiness when travelling handily on the outside and quickening under Shane Crosse to shake off a field of Group winners and prevail by three-quarters of a length at 63-10.

Pia and Joakin Brandt’s Pretty Tiger was the runner up at 12-1, with Sealiway third at 7-2 for Francis-Henri Graffard. Skalleti briefly flattered from the rear but had to settle for fifth on this occasion.

“It was a great performance, Shane gave him a lovely ride,” O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing.

“The race didn’t set up perfectly for him and he managed it very well, I’m delighted for everyone at home.

“To come here at the start of the season with a win in a Group One like the Ganay is very special, I’m very proud of everyone and I hope it’s the start of a good season ahead.

“He has a very good constitution, it’s not every horse you could campaign the way this lad has been campaigned.

“I think it’s a testament to the horse’s mind, his versatility and his constitution to travel as much as he has and keep performing.”

The Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh is next on the agenda, with the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot also pencilled in the diary come June.

“There’s a pretty obvious programme for 10-furlong Group One horses through the summer, the Tattersalls Gold Cup will be the most likely spot for him next and then we will take it from there,” O’Brien said.

“We’ll take it one race at a time, hopefully we can have a good season.

“I think he won’t go further, the Prix d’Ispahan is here over nine furlongs so we could come back for that, but I think it is more likely we would go to the Curragh.”

Skalleti in top shape for Ganay mission

Jerome Reynier is unconcerned about conditions at ParisLongchamp as his star grey Skalleti looks for a 19th career success in the Group One Prix Ganay on Sunday.

The evergreen gelding was a winner last time out when taking the Prix d’Harcourt at the same track in early April, defeating both Sealiway and Mare Australis to retain his title in the Group Two event.

That smart performance came on going described as very soft, something the seven-year-old seems to relish, but Reynier is confident he will be equally as competitive on Longchamp turf currently labelled good to soft and pointed to wins on better ground in the Prix Exbury and the Prix d’Ispahan as evidence.

“I’m very happy with him and the way he came back from the Prix d’Harcourt,” he said.

“He feels really good and there’s no rain but the Prix Exbury was run on good ground, the Prix d’Ispahan was run on good ground and the Ganay will be run on good ground so I think if we are waiting on the rain, we’d never run him again.

“That’s part of the game and we know he is very competitive, even on good ground, but when he recovers it takes a little longer.”

Skalleti has a particularly solid record at Longchamp, with his seven runs at the track resulting in six victories, and Reynier is expecting jockey Maxime Guyon to employ his usual last-gasp tactics.

“The only time he got beaten the ground was terrible – patchy and sticky,” the trainer said.

“He won the Prix d’Ispahan there on good ground so I’m not really bothered by it now, there will be enough pace with Sealiway and Mare Australis, who won the Ganay wall to wall last year.

“The race should be run at a decent pace so we will be waiting at the back as usual and waiting for the same finish as last time.”

Skalleti has won 18 of the 25 races he has contested throughout his career and though advancing in years, he has thus far shown no signs of losing his ability.

“It’s not very often you get horses who for many years are so competitive, he was a nice four-year-old, a competitive five- and six-year-old and now at seven he’s still very competitive,” Reynier said.

“It’s great to be able to keep him at that level, one day he’ll go a little slower but right now he’s just amazing.

“We had a really good feeling about him before the d’Harcourt, he was in great shape and he’s in exactly the same shape so I am very hopeful for Sunday.”

Joseph O’Brien’s State of Rest will travel over from Ireland for the contest, his first run since prevailing in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October.

The Starspangledbanner colt also landed the Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes last August and is a horse who seems to thrive on an overseas mission having competed in four different countries across nine career starts.

“He’s trained well so far this year,” O’Brien said of the four-year-old.

“It looks a very good race but it’s a nice starting point for him and we’re hoping we can run a good race and get his season started off on the right note.”

State Of Rest defeated Anamoe in the Cox Plate, a Godolphin-owned colt who has since gone on to win two Group events, latterly a six-and-a-half-length victory in the Group One Rosehill Guineas.

“The form has held up well, all of State Of Rest’s form from last season has held up,” said O’Brien.

“We think he’s matured from three to four so we’re excited to get him back and we’re looking forward to the year ahead.

“He certainly travels well, he took it all in his stride last year and we’re hopeful we can have a good season with him this year.”

Sealiway was a 12-1 winner of the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot in October and was runner-up to Skalleti in the Prix d’Harcourt.

The latter run was on very soft ground and the chestnut also has form on heavy, but trainer Francis-Henri Graffard is confident he can prove himself to be just as effective on a firmer surface.

Sealiway after his Ascot success
Sealiway after his Ascot success (Steven Paston/PA)

“He came on a lot for his last race, I couldn’t be any happier with him,” he said.

“The ground won’t be a problem to him, he can go on good ground with no issues and we’re looking forward to it.”

Sealiway is owned by Le Haras De La Gousseri, whose yellow and green silks will also be carried by the Richard Chotard-trained Smile Makers.

Andre Fabre’s Mare Australis made all of the running to land the race last season and will return to face the two horses who defeated him in the Prix d’Harcourt, Sealiway and Skalleti.

Pia and Joakim Brandt are represented by Pretty Tiger, who makes his debut for the stable having previously been trained by the suspended Fabrice Vermeulen.

Cox Plate hero State Of Rest set for big season closer to home

State Of Rest won twice at the highest level on foreign soil last year and Joseph O’Brien is confident he can fly the Group One flag for his team closer to home in 2022.

The Starspangledbanner colt ran only three times last season – but made the most of his opportunities by winning the Saratoga Derby and the Cox Plate in Australia on his final two starts.

O’Brien is hoping to see the four-year-old reappear in the coming weeks, potentially in France, before bidding for a first Irish Group One success in the Tattersalls Gold Cup on May 22.

“State Of Rest is probably our flagship horse for the year, hopefully,” O’Brien said during a media visit to his County Kilkenny yard on Wednesday.

“We’re looking at either the Prix Ganay or the Mooresbridge as a starting point, with the Tattersalls Gold Cup being his first big target.”

Asked whether he felt State Of Rest could be underrated, he added: “I think that’s fair to say. The horse he beat in the Cox Plate (Anamoe) won a Group One by six and a half lengths last week.

“He (State Of Rest) is rated 120 and I think he’s going to be competitive in those big 10-furlong races this year.

“If he happens to win or be competitive in those Group Ones early in the season, you have Ascot (Prince of Wales’s Stakes), Sandown (Eclipse) and York (Juddmonte International).

“He also has American options and then Australia again as he’s been bought by an Australian stud (Newgate Stud and partners), so he’ll probably end up in Australia again if the season went well.”

State Of Rest will lead what O’Brien believes is his strongest ever team into battle.

Buckaroo in action at Galway
Buckaroo in action at Galway (Brian Lawless/PA)

Some of his big hopes in the three-year-old division are set for imminent action, including potential Derby contender Buckaroo, who is being readied for Saturday’s Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown.

He is likely to be joined at Leopardstown by both Seisai and Agartha, who are set to cross paths in the Ballylinch Stud ‘Priory Belle’ 1,000 Guineas Trial.

Another colt identified by the trainer as a potential Classic contender is Hannibal Barca, who rounded off last season by finishing fourth in the Vertem Futurity Trophy for Brian Meehan and has since switched yards.

O’Brien said: “He will probably go to the Curragh for the Tetrarch Stakes and then we’ll see.

“That race is the same course and distance as the Irish Guineas, so will that will give him the chance of being an Irish Guineas horse.”

Discussing some of his other three-year-olds, the trainer went on: “Brasil Power will probably run in a handicap at Leopardstown at the weekend. He is working like a nice horse and could be progressive.

“Velocidad won a Group Two last year. She’s bred to stay but I’m not sure how far she will stay, so I’m toying with the idea of starting her at seven (furlongs) or going sprinting.

“Tranquil Lady will probably go for an Oaks Trial – the Salsabil Stakes or the Blue Wind, something like that and take it from there.

“Above The Curve will probably run in a maiden next week and we think she’s a nice filly – we think she’ll make up into a Stakes filly, hopefully.

“Vega Magnifico is another nice maiden who could go to Leopardstown a week today.”

Thunder Moon won the National Stakes as a two-year-old
Thunder Moon won the National Stakes as a two-year-old (PA)

O’Brien appears particularly happy with his team of “80 or 90” two-year-olds, while the older horse brigade includes Thunder Moon, who was only narrowly beaten in last season’s Prix Jean Prat.

“Thunder Moon will probably go for the Gladness Stakes and we’ll try to win a Group One with him after that,” said O’Brien.

“I think seven furlongs is his trip and he was unlucky not to win a Group One last year in France.

“I think I got his conditions wrong a few times – I tried to sprint him or go a mile and if you look at all his runs over seven furlongs, they’re way ahead of his form over any other trip.

“Gear Up will start off in the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh and seems to be working nicely. He didn’t fire last year really, but he had a bit of an injury.

“He was a very good two-year-old before that and we’re happy with what we’ve seen from him so far.”

Joseph O’Brien thrilled by Cox Plate success

Joseph O’Brien admitted he wished he could have been at Moonee Valley to see State Of Rest secure a “huge” triumph in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate on Saturday.

In the face of strict veterinary rules for foreign raiders introduced for the first time this year, State Of Rest was the only European challenger to line up in Australia’s weight-for-age highlight over 10 furlongs.

Partnered by John Allen, State Of Rest was locked in battle with the Godolphin-owned Anamoe in the final furlong of the Group One heat and it appeared the Irish raider had leaned in and given a slight bump to the eventual short-head second.

Anamoe’s rider Craig Williams immediately lodged a protest, but the stewards ultimately opted to let the result stand, meaning O’Brien emulated his father Aidan, who won the Cox Plate with Adelaide in 2014.

The winning trainer was adding to his two Melbourne Cup triumphs with Rekindling (2017) and Twilight Payment (2020) and he paid tribute to a team effort in successfully making the trip with the Teme Valley Racing-owned colt.

Speaking at Leopardstown, he said: “It was fantastic and I’m very proud of everyone, Mark Power and MJ Doran who are down in Australia with the horse and Mark Hackett in the office who organised the trip, transport and paperwork.

“I also have to thank the vets and everyone who organised all the veterinary side, which has been huge.

“It’s been a huge team effort and we were lucky to have keen owners with Richard Ryan, the manager (of Teme Valley), and Jim Cockburn. Johnny Allen also gave him a fantastic ride.

“He’s a very tough horse with a great constitution and that’s why we were willing to give it a go.

“It’s a very prestigious race, I wish I could be there to experience it, and it’s great prize-money. It’s a huge one really.”

Plans are fluid for State Of Rest now, with O’Brien adding: “He has an option in the Mackinnon (Stakes at Flemington on November 6) but we’ll just see how he pulls up.”

Winning rider Allen began his career in Ireland riding over jumps before moving to Australia and he felt the race had worked out “pretty well” for State Of Rest, who was last seen winning the Saratoga Derby in August.

The rider said: “When the gap appeared, I had to ask him to improve quickly before it closed and we might have got there a little too soon. But to his credit when that horse got to me, he really fought and was solid to the line.

“There was a bit of a bump there and I couldn’t celebrate. Thank God we got the win and it’s been a great job by Mark (Power) and the team.

“The way it was going, there were a few anxious moments, but I think the right decision was made.”

State Of Rest takes dramatic Cox Plate for Joseph O’Brien

Joseph O’Brien added another Australian prize to his collection as State Of Rest survived a stewards’ inquiry to claim the Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

The trainer has saddled two Melbourne Cup winners in Rekindling (2017) and Twilight Payment (2020) and three-year-old State Of Rest became another notable international success for the team as he fought out a dramatic finish in the 10-furlong Group One.

Partnered by John Allen, State Of Rest was locked in battle with the Godolphin-owned Anamoe in the final furlong and it appeared the Irish raider had leaned in and given a slight bump to the eventual short-head second.

Anamoe’s rider Craig Williams immediately lodged a protest, but the stewards ultimately opted to let the result stand, meaning O’Brien emulated his father Aidan, who won the Cox Plate with Adelaide in 2014.

Mark Power, representing Joseph O’Brien, told www.racing.com: “It’s not good for the heart – I’m absolutely trembling like a leaf.

“Johnny Allen was super, he’s strong as an ox. You couldn’t have a better man on your side.

“Luckily we had Johnny. It’s a relatively new process for me and luckily we came out on the right side of it.”

Allen said the race had worked out “pretty well” for State Of Rest, who was last seen winning the Saratoga Derby in August.

The rider said: “When the gap appeared, I had to ask him to improve quickly before it closed and we might have got there a little too soon. But to his credit when that horse got to me, he really fought and was solid to the line.

“There was a bit of a bump there and I couldn’t celebrate. Thank God we got the win and it’s been a great job by Mark (Power) and the team.

“The way it was going, there were a few anxious moments, but I think the right decision was made.”

Williams was disappointed not to get the result overturned, but feels Anamoe has a big future ahead of him.

“It is our greatest Australian weight-for-age race that we have and Anamoe’s performance as a three-year-old was excellent, he was very game in defeat,” Williams said.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result on the track and because of contact by the winner (State Of Rest) we had good grounds to hopefully overturn the positions in the stewards’ room but we weren’t so fortunate. That’s racing and we move on.

“He is a serious racehorse and for a three-year-old to go so close, he’s a real Australian star in the making. Looking forward to his future starts and unfortunately we ran second today.”