Joseph O’Brien has his team in red-hot form under both codes at present and with Royal Ascot being just days away, the timing of his team hitting top form couldn’t be any better.
BAND OF OUTLAWS
3 b c Fast Company – Band Of Colour
Rated 89, he won twice as a juvenile and has shaped well without winning this season.
“He is an intended runner in the Britannia on Thursday and while it might be a close-run thing, hopefully he’ll sneak in at the bottom of the weights. He got no luck at all in his latest start at the Curragh and is definitely better than he was able to show there. He has been in great form since then and we’re looking forward to seeing him run. It is always a really competitive race, but we’d be hopeful he can run a big race.”
2 b c Gale Force Ten – Fancy Feathers
Has improved with each of his three starts thus far, culminating in an impressive victory in a winner’s race at the Curragh earlier this month.
“The plan is to run him in the Windsor Castle Stakes on Saturday. He is after putting together a nice bit of experience, which is always a help in that race as it is a bit of a cavalry charge. He looks to have plenty of pace and given how much of a step forward he took in his last start, we’d be hopeful he could find some more improvement and run well. He wears blinkers, but there is nothing wrong with his attitude, they just help him to concentrate as he is just a bit lairy and a slow learner.”
3 b c Camelot – Cinnamon Rose
Rated 96, he won a maiden at Dundalk in February and showed much-improved form to win a handicap at Navan earlier this month.
“We have had the King George V Handicap on Thursday in mind for him for quite a while and the intention is to run him there. He took a really good step forward when stepped up to a mile-and-a-quarter at Navan last time and we think he’ll be well suited by the step up to a mile-and-a-half. He’ll love the fast ground and we are hopeful that he’ll run well.”
3 ch c Dutch Art – Euroceleb
Rated 92, he won a maiden at Dundalk in April and showed improved form to finish a close second in a Listed race at Navan in May.
“He is entered in both the Queen’s Vase on Wednesday and the King George V Handicap on Thursday and we haven’t made a final decision on which one he’ll run in yet, but he is an intended runner at the meeting. There is a lot of stamina on the dam side of his pedigree and we were hopeful that he would improve for stepping up in trip, so it was great to see him run so well at Navan last time. He was still a bit raw under pressure there and changed his legs quite a bit on the downhill sections of the track, so he could well improve again from that experience.”
4 b c Galileo – Burning Sunset
Rated 99, he was formerly trained by Andre Fabre and made a winning start for O’Brien in a conditions race at Dundalk in May. He was narrowly beaten in a similar contest on his latest start.
“He is entered in the Ascot Stakes on Tuesday and the Queen Alexandra on Saturday and we have yet to make a final decision on which one to go for. There is even a possibility he could run in both. He is a lovely staying type of horse that settles well in his races and will give himself every chance to stay the longer trip. He just got out-sprinted in a steadily-run race at Listowel last time and an increased emphasis on stamina at Royal Ascot will play to his strengths.”
NO NEEDS NEVER
2 br c No Nay Never – Opera Fan
Made a highly-promising debut when a never-nearer second to Invasion Day at Cork in May.
“He is entered in the London Sale on Monday, but we are training him with the intention of running in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday. All of our two-year-olds have been needing the experience on their debuts and have been improving from run to run, so the fact that he ran so well on his debut bodes well for how much ability he has. We think he has improved quite a bit from that run and while the Coventry is always a very good race, we are hopeful that he’ll run well.”
NOW YOU’RE TALKING
3 b f Zoffany – Granadilla
Rated 102, she won a maiden at Dundalk in March and has finished in the frame in stakes company both before and since that win.
“She’ll run in the Commonwealth Cup on Friday. It looks likely to be one of the most competitive races of the week, but she ran very well behind Sioux Nation on her latest start at Naas and that entitles her to take her chance. She ran very well in the Queen Mary at this meeting last year and she should be suited by this race, as she enjoys being covered up in a fast-run race.”
SHIP OF DREAMS
3 ch f Lope De Vega – Oh Sedulous
Rated 101, she won a maiden at Dundalk in January and produced her best effort since when second in the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in May.
“The plan is to run her in the Sandringham on Friday. She ran an improved race when second in the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown, but the handicapper didn’t miss her and gave her a right whack of an 11lb rise for it. She didn’t get the clearest of runs that day, so hopefully, she can improve again and prove the handicapper right by running well.”
SPEAK IN COLOURS
3 gr c Excelebration – Maglietta Fina
Rated 106, he was formerly trained by Marco Botti for whom he won a maiden at Ascot and a Listed race at Doncaster. He has run very well without winning in his two starts since joining O’Brien.
“He is an intended runner in the Commonwealth Cup on Friday and this was the race we had in mind for him when he was bought to join the yard. We have brought him along steadily since he has arrived and we were very happy with his run at Naas last time. He should be well suited by having more cover and pace in front of him at Royal Ascot and that could well help bring more improvement out of him.”
3 b f Dark Angel – Alina
Rated 85, she won a maiden at the Curragh in May and has run well without winning in two subsequent starts in handicaps.
“We had thought she might struggle to get into the Sandringham on Friday, but it looks like she’ll get a run. She has progressed steadily with each run for us and is definitely better than she was able to show in her last start at Roscommon, as she was got no luck in running at all. Going back up to a mile should suit her and I’d be hopeful that she will acquit herself well.”