Last year’s winner Marvelous could be joined by stable friends Japan and Serpentine as Aidan O’Brien considers a three-pronged strike on the Qipco Champion Stakes with Ascot.
The Ballydoyle trainer has saddled eight earlier winners on Qipco British Winners Day, and looks set to deliver another formidable squad across the Irish Sea this weekend, for what is going to be the 10th anniversary of the showpiece meeting.
While Marvelous has long been pencilled in for a return in order to Ascot, several big names who also might not have been bound for Berkshire are now in the mix due to the well-documented problem surrounding contaminated feed which usually prompted O’Brien to withdraw most of his runners on Arc time in Paris.
O’Brien admits a late change associated with big-race target is not ideal, yet ParisLongchamp’s loss looks set to end up being Ascot’s gain.
“We had to think hard about what we all did with the horses that were because of go to France as for a long time their particular preparation had been geared around Arch weekend and when you carry on another two weeks it’s not always ideal, inch said O’Brien.
“It can be tricky to keep the energy going. We were looking forward to Arc weekend break and the horses were training very well for it for a long time, but that’s the method it was and the way it was intended to be and we just accepted it plus moved on.
“Next yr will be another year. We transformed the route with them and we’ll notice what will happen, but they seem to be within good form. ”
Japan and Derby Serpentine had been both considered leading contenders for your Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe itself, but are now possibles in order to line up alongside Magical, with option options running out.
However , O’Brien’s other Champion Buy-ins entrant, Mogul, is set to lose out.
O’Brien said: “Japan is a strong possible and this continues to be the target for Magical since Leopardstown. Mogul is not a definite because he can go straight to the Breeders’ Mug Turf.
“The lads have to decide what they want to do with Serpentine. We were really looking forward to the Arch with him and his prep for this was very good – we experienced he had moved up plenty through his prep run and accomplished very well physically.
“He has to run somewhere shortly, possibly that or we have to back off your pet altogether. The options for him right after Saturday are the Breeders’ Cup, the particular Japan Cup and the races within Hong Kong.
“We’re happy with him at home at the moment and when he runs on Saturday it can be interesting. ”
Marvelous looked set for retirement right after striking gold 12 months ago, yet a change of heart to keep the girl in training as a five-year-old provides reaped rich rewards.
Following successive Group One triumphs on the Curragh, the ultra-consistent Galileo mare chased home Ghaiyyath in the Juddmonte International at York before effectively defending her crown in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
Her top-level tally appears at seven – and she may have been into double figures currently had she not bumped in to the recently-retired Enable on several events.
“Enable has been an excellent filly and obviously herself plus Magical know each other well — they’ve had some great races with each other, ” said O’Brien.
“Enable is a year older than Marvelous and we were delighted that the lads decided to keep Magical in exercising this year.
“She’s within good form and loved this particular race last year, so we’re looking towards running her. ”
Asked about plans beyond Saturday designed for Magical, O’Brien added: “I didn’t be sure about next year, because i was delighted to have her this year.
“It will be whatever the lads decide, but I imagine when everything was well with the girl she could go to the Breeders’ Glass. ”
The main helping race is the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, in which O’Brien’s chief competitor will be the admirable Circus Maximus.
The tough-as-teak six-year-old provides significant ground to make up on David Gosden’s hot favourite Palace Boat dock on their meeting at Deauville come july 1st, but O’Brien hopes a return in order to Ascot – where he has received twice before – will help Festival Maximus close the gap.
O’Brien said: “We’ve been delighted with Circus Maximus. He is very tough and very consistent plus seems to dance every dance.
“He’s a very competitive equine who loves it when race horses challenge him – he’s difficult and hardened and loves to enter a battle. ”
The trainer confirmed Royal Dornoch as a “strong possible” to join Festival Maximus, while a decision on regardless of whether Lancaster House will also line up is going to be made later in the week.
O’Brien declared his purposes to saddle Arc contender Sovereign, Broome and Dawn Patrol within the British Champions Long Distance Cup, whilst Lope Y Fernandez is a most likely contender for the British Champions Run, having missed the Prix sobre la Foret on Arc Weekend break.
While keen in order to stress all plans are susceptible to change, O’Brien is favouring working Passion over Laburnum in the Uk Champions Fillies & Mares Buy-ins.
He is also started be represented in the concluding Balmoral Handicap by recent Listed champion Keats.