O'Brien enters nine for rescheduled Trophy at Newcastle

Wichita is a notable addition to the potential Ballydoyle team.

  • Monday 28 October
  • News
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Aidan O’Brien is responsible for nine of the 17 confirmations for the rescheduled Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle.

The one-mile contest will become the first Group One race to take place on an all-weather surface in Britain at Gosforth Park on Friday afternoon, having been saved from last Saturday’s abandoned meeting at a waterlogged Doncaster.

There was surprise a week ago when the original confirmations revealed 11 of the 12 possible runners were trained at Ballydoyle.

O’Brien later whittled his squad down to five at the declaration stage, with Leopardstown Group Two winner Mogul joined by Beresford Stakes hero Innisfree, as well as Iberia, Louisiana and Royal County Down.

Mogul, Innisfree, Iberia and Royal County Down are in contention again – and while Louisiana is not, O’Brien could also saddle Hong Kong, New World Tapestry, San Pedro, Wichita and Year Of The Tiger.

O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing: “Obviously the turf is what we would have preferred, but that’s just not the way it is.

“Newcastle, I think, is a very good all-weather track.”

The only horse originally declared to take on the O’Brien team at Doncaster was the Andrew Balding-trained Kameko.

Since making a winning debut at Sandown in July, the son of Kitten’s Joy has been touched off by the Clive Cox-trained Positive in the Solario Stakes and O’Brien’s Royal Dornoch in the Royal Lodge.

David Redvers, racing manager to owners Qatar Racing, feels the switch to Newcastle should benefit Kameko.

He said: “The horse did a sensational piece of work last week and Andrew was busting to run him, understandably, because he hasn’t had a horse like this for a while.

“We’ve got to go (to Newcastle) and now I hope conditions might suit us a little bit better.

“At the end of the day, if Newcastle is seen to be that fair and sound a surface that John Gosden is going to start off fillies like Enable there, then why shouldn’t we have a Group One run on that surface?

“Either you just consign all-weather racing to being the cheap winter fodder that we’re not interested in, or you actually accept there are times when it’s the perfect place to run this sort of race.”

Ralph Beckett’s Kinross is a significant potential addition to the race after making a hugely-impressive debut at Newmarket at the start of the month. He is also in the rescheduled Horris Hill Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

John Gosden’s pair of Cherokee Trail and Verboten, Brian Meehan’s Cepheus, the Emmet Mullins-trained King Of The Throne and Geometrical from Jim Bolger’s yard are the other hopefuls.

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