Aidan O'Brien assembles formidable squad of colts for the Classics

    Aidan O'Brien opened up his famous Ballydoyle stable to the press on Wednesday to help launch the new Irish Flat season which gets under way at Naas on Sunday.
  • Wednesday 21 March 2018
  • News

Aidan O'Brien opened up his famous Ballydoyle stable to the press on Wednesday to help launch the new Irish Flat season which gets under way at Naas on Sunday.

Having set a new world record for the number of Group One wins in a year with his 28 in 2017, he has a hard act to follow but, as usual, his string is packed to the rafters full of potential Classic contenders, headed by 2000 Guineas and Derby favourite Saxon Warrior, the winner of the Racing Post Trophy.

Here he reveals plans for some of his exciting crop of three-year-old colts.

Saxon Warrior

"He's done very well and is a massive, big, physical horse. He was a big horse last year but he's bigger this year.

"We have our eye on the Guineas and we're just hoping that we have him ready in time for it.

"He could well get a mile and a half as he has a relaxed way of doing it, so it will be very interesting with him.

"He'll probably go straight for the Guineas. He could go for a run but I'd imagine he'll probably go for a racecourse gallop instead.

"The only race that really suits us before the Guineas is Leopardstown. The Craven is too close to travel over and the Greenham is the same as we wouldn't like to travel them that close.

"Often for their first run they take a little bit of time to recover from it."

Amedeo Modigliani

"He's very well. He's in the 'could be anything' category.

"He's a Galileo, he travels like a miler and he goes through his work very easy. We purposely are probably not going to go to the Guineas with him.

"He's a little bit natural and a little bit like St Nicholas Abbey. We trained St Nicholas Abbey for the Guineas, who was a very generous horse and wanted to do it, and it just wasn't the right thing long-term for him.

"He missed his three-year-old career after it so we're going to go very gentle with this fellow.

"I think we're going to go to the Derby trials, and still won't be sure whether he'll get a mile and a quarter, but we'll go that way and feel our way and if he doesn't, we'll come back in trip.

"He'll be an interesting horse."

Sioux Nation

"He worked yesterday morning and we were kind of debating whether to go to Leopardstown for the (Guineas) trial with him, but obviously they all can't go.

"Donnacha (O'Brien) rode him work and he was of the opinion that he was a fast horse.

"He could be a five- or six-furlong horse and we'd keep him on good ground. He's a big, powerful horse."

St Patrick's Day

"He's a brother to American Pharoah and he just came to us about a month ago.

"We think and hope that he'll be a Royal Ascot horse and he'll have a run or two before. It could be the Jersey or the St James's Palace, that's what we are thinking.

"I'm dreaming at the moment what he could be. He only had two runs in America, placed the first time and won the second."

The Pentagon

"We're very happy with him. We didn't think that he would run as well in the Racing Post Trophy as he did (finished third).

"He was off for three weeks and missed a lot of time. We were really wanting to get a run into him as we wanted to see was he as good as he showed at the Curragh when Ana (O'Brien) rode him, and obviously he was.

"He'll go for a Derby trial, even though we left him in the Guineas. I think that's the way he'll be going."

U S Navy Flag

"He'll go to the Guineas. Whether he'll go to Leopardstown or not before we'll have to see as he was a horse that took a bit of racing last year.

"The reason we went to America at the end was to see if he would get a mile but it was a little bit of a non-event because obviously it was on the dirt and they went very hard and the first two got burned off.

"With his work this year you'd say that there is a good chance that he could get a mile. That's why we might go to Leopardstown with a view to thinking about going to Newmarket afterwards. It would give us a little bit of a feeler with him."

Gustav Klimt

"We're thinking the Guineas with Gustav Klimt and he could go to Leopardstown on the way there for the trial.

"Because he missed the second half of last year, and he's a little bit round still, he might take a run in Leopardstown.

"He was a little bit wrong behind last year and we think it was a muscle behind."

O'Brien also nominated Flag Of Honour , Nelson , Gardens Of Babylon , James Cook , Kenya and Rostropovich as colts who could take in a Derby trial to test their mettle.

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