Aidan O'Brien Stable Tour

    World record-breaking trainer Aidan O’Brien has 11 BC wins to his name and sends his strongest-ever squad to the Breeders’ Cup which could bring him more glory at the big meeting and extend his world record of 26 Group 1 wins in a calendar year.
  • Wednesday 01 November 2017
  • Stable Tours

Aidan O’Brien heads to Del Mar a world record holder having last month saddled his 26th Group 1 winner this calendar year to beat legendary US trainer Bobby Frankel’s record.

The master of Ballydoyle is an 11-time winner at the Breeders’ Cup with a record six victories in the Turf, a hat-trick in the Juvenile Turf and one in both the Juvenile and the Marathon.

He sends his strongest-ever squad to the Breeders’ Cup in 2017 which is made up of 13 runners - the joint-largest at the two-day extravaganza along with Chad Brown.

Here, Aidan O'Brien gives Kevin Blake the inside scoop on his squad which could bring him more glory at the big meeting and extend his world record.

Older Horses

Highland Reel (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 123, he is a six-time Group/Grade 1 winner that scored in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot this season.

Trainer Says:

He didn’t run for quite a while after the King George and we just felt we had to get a run into him before coming here, which is why we ran him on ground he wouldn’t like at Ascot. Ryan did his best to find the least testing ground for him on the day and he looked after him when his winning chance was gone. He seems to be in good form since and the mile-and-a-half on fast ground is right up his street. While it wasn’t really the plan for him to have so few runs in the second half of the season, he is coming here quite fresh as a result and that might stand to him.

Video Form
4 Nov 2017:
25 Mar 2017:
5 Nov 2016:
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26 Mar 2016:

Seventh Heaven (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 119, she won the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks last season and has had a light campaign this year in which she won the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.

Trainer Says:

She had a big setback after she won at Newmarket and missed a lot of the season as a result. She was just ready to start back at the Curragh and came forward lovely from that in the Arc. Pat (Smullen) rode her and was delighted with her and we think she has come forward again from that. A mile-and-a-half on fast ground will really suit her and she’s a high-class filly in those circumstances, though her best runs have come on more galloping tracks than this.

Video Form
4 Nov 2017:
10 Sep 2017:
25 Mar 2017:
5 Nov 2016:
16 Jul 2016:

Washington Dc (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 110, he is well established as a rock-solid sprinter, winning in Listed and Group 3 company this season.

Trainer Says:

He’s a horse with an awful lot of ability. Five furlongs on fast ground has always been what he’s wanted, but it’s just hard to get those conditions for him. He’s very comfortable coming from off a fast pace. I don’t know how far Ryan will want to have him back as it will be a tight and fast five furlongs around a bend here, but he has the speed to do it. He’s a horse that we’ve always thought was Group 1 level, things just haven’t always dropped right for him, but he’s coming here in good order and we’ll hope for the best.

Video Form
13 Aug 2017:
24 Apr 2017:
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5 Nov 2016:
11 Sep 2016:

Three Year Olds

Churchill (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 122, he won the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst at Newmarket as a two-year-old and trained on to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket as well as the Irish equivalent of that race at the Curragh this year. He most recently finished third in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Trainer Says:

I don’t think we’ve seen the very best of this horse. Goodwood was a real disappointment, as he went over there to run in the Sussex Stakes, but the ground turned very soft over there and we decided not to run him. That sort of messed up his schedule a little bit. Things haven’t gone right for him in his three runs since, but he has still been running well despite that. While he hasn’t done a lot since Ascot, he seems to be in good form. The dirt is obviously the big question for him this week, but he’s a big powerful horse and is built to handle it. He’s a horse that is usually a good breaker and good early tactical speed to get a position which is important too.

Video Form
9 Sep 2017:
27 May 2017:
11 Sep 2016:
21 Aug 2016:
21 Jul 2016:

Cliffs Of Moher (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 118, he finished second in the Derby at Epsom, but hasn’t had much go right for him in Group 1 company since then.

Trainer Says:

Things haven’t really worked out for him since the Derby. He got badly hampered in the Eclipse, we made too much use of him at York and he got no luck in running at Leopardstown. The ground was the problem at Ascot last time, as he’s a good-moving horse that just needs better ground than that. He seems to have come out of that well and a sharp mile-and-a-half on fast ground should really suit him. I don’t think we’ve seen the very best of him either.

Video Form
9 Sep 2017:
29 Oct 2016:
15 Oct 2016:

Lancaster Bomber (USA)

Form Profile:

Rated 117, he has been performing with great credit all season in Group 1 company without getting his head in front.

Trainer Says:

He was another one that just got stuck in the ground at Ascot, but he’s a hardy horse and has been in good form since. We’d like to ride him forward, but that doesn’t always work out, so we’ll hope for the best on the night. To be fair to him he showed at Woodbine that he can run well when things don’t go to plan and he gets further back than planned. He gets a mile well, fast ground will suit him and he’s just a good solid horse.

Video Form
4 Nov 2017:
16 Sep 2017:
27 May 2017:
25 Mar 2017:
4 Nov 2016:

Rhododendron (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 115, she won three of her five starts as a juvenile including the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket and bounced back to winning ways in the Prix de l’Opera Longines at Chantilly last time.

Trainer Says:

She burst a blood vessel in France and we gave her a break after that. She was only just ready to start back in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and ran a lovely race in the circumstances. She surprised us a bit with just how much she came forward from that at Chantilly and it was a great performance for her to beat Hydrangea who obviously went on to win at Ascot next time. Given how much she stepped forward from Leopardstown, it might be too much to hope that she could improve from that again, but if she runs to a similar level again we’d be delighted. I haven’t talked to Ryan about it yet, but it looks like she has a tough draw, but she seems to be in good form and we’ll hope for the best.

Video Form
4 Nov 2017:
9 Sep 2017:
11 Sep 2016:
21 Aug 2016:
24 Jun 2016:

Roly Poly (USA)

Form Profile:

Rated 117, she was a high-class juvenile that has progressed this season, winning three Group 1 races over a mile including the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on her latest outing.

Trainer Says:

She’s a very solid filly and has progressed with every run. It’s amazing what she’s done this season. She isn’t the biggest, but there have been a lot of great horses over the years that have shown they don’t need to be big to be great. She has pedigree, ability and courage which are probably all more important than size. I don’t think she’s far off the best in Europe over a mile. Her draw doesn’t look ideal, but we’ll see what Ryan makes of it. A mile on fast ground is just what she wants.

Video Form
4 Nov 2017:
9 Sep 2017:
28 May 2017:
4 Nov 2016:
26 Jun 2016:

War Decree (USA)

Form Profile:

Rated 112, he was a Group 2 winner as a juvenile and returned from a mid-season break to win a Group 3 at Dundalk last time.

Trainer Says:

We’ve always liked him. We were training him for the 2000 Guineas early in the year, but it went a little bit wrong and maybe we were just asking him for a little bit more than he was ready to give at the time. We went on to run in the French Derby and he ran well, but he had a little setback after that. We wanted to go a mile-and-a-quarter again with him when he came back, so the race at Dundalk fitted in well. He was only just ready to start back, but he won very well and Donnacha was delighted with him. He’s a horse with a lot of ability and while this is his first start on dirt and he needs to step up to compete at this level, he’s a strong traveller and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.

Video Form
5 Nov 2017:
29 Sep 2017:
3 Jun 2016:

Two Year Olds

Happily

Form Profile:

Rated 112, she has progressed very well to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly.

Trainer Says:

She’s in good form and has done well to win two Group 1s already. She missed the Fillies’ Mile after a slightly bad scope, but she didn’t miss any important work because of it and it shouldn’t have any bearing on her chance this week. On her pedigree, you’d think better ground would suit her, but to be fair she has handled softer ground very well in her last few starts and it would be hard to say that she could be any better on firmer ground. She stays well and I’d say there’s a good chance she could get a mile-and-a-half next year.

Video Form
3 Nov 2017:
10 Sep 2017:
20 Aug 2017:
27 Jul 2017:
30 Jun 2017:

Mendelssohn

Form Profile:

Rated 117, he won a maiden at the Curragh and produced much his best effort when second in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last time.

Trainer Says:

We thought he was a nice horse from early on, but he was just very green and babyish in his first three starts. We put a pair of blinkers on him at home prior to the Dewhurst and they really seemed to help him, so we left them on him for the race and he ran great. He’s bred to handle dirt, but we just thought it might be a bit early for him to run on it. He can always try it next year if we want him to. Going back up in trip shouldn’t be a problem for him and we are looking forward to seeing him run.

Video Form
3 Nov 2017:
16 Sep 2017:
13 Aug 2017:
15 Jul 2017:

September

Form Profile:

Rated 104, she won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and ran her best race yet when an unlucky nose second to Laurens in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last time.

Trainer Says:

We were delighted with her win at Royal Ascot. We gave her a good break after that which she did very well for and that coupled with ground being softer than ideal possibly held her back a little bit in her next couple of runs. She came on from those runs and the combination of the longer trip and better ground certainly wasn’t a disadvantage to her when she ran so well in the Fillies’ Mile last time. She isn’t the biggest, but she has a fantastic pedigree and plenty of ability to go with it.

Video Form
3 Nov 2017:
10 Sep 2017:
20 Aug 2017:
8 Jun 2017:

U S Navy Flag

Form Profile:

Rated 123, he has shown remarkable progression during his busy juvenile campaign, culminating in impressive wins in the Middle Park Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

Trainer Says:

He’s an amazing horse, really. We always thought he was a really good colt, but it just took time for his mind to get in sync with his body. We exposed him to all the big races this year as we thought he was up to it and the more we exposed him the more he has stepped up. His last couple of runs have been unbelievable. He is a hardy horse with speed, stamina and tactical pace. We’re throwing him in at deep end again by running him in the dirt race and stepping him up in trip at the same time, but he’s taken everything we’ve thrown at him so far and it will be exciting to see what he does.

Video Form
27 Aug 2017:
13 Aug 2017:
1 Jul 2017:
27 May 2017:
13 May 2017:
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