Class of 2020: Aidan O'Brien

The record-breaking trainer talks to Kevin Blake about some of the juveniles he is looking forward to in 2020.

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What more can be said about Aidan O’Brien that hasn’t already been said?

A record-breaking National Hunt trainer in the initial stages of his career, his remarkable talent very much caught the eye of John Magnier and in 1996, at the age of just 26, O’Brien was asked to fill the void left by the retirement of the legendary Vincent O’Brien in Ballydoyle. 

Despite the colossal expectations and pressure that came with such an opportunity, O’Brien quickly justified the faith placed in him. Within a couple of seasons, he had established himself as a dominant force in Irish racing.

Since then O’Brien has broken every record worth breaking and won every race worth winning in Europe and beyond. Most recently, he broke the world record for the number of Group/Grade 1 winners trained in a calendar year by enjoying 28 such victories in 2017.

Aidan spoke to Kevin Blake of attheraces.com to discuss some of their two-year-olds for the 2020 season.

Please note: Where a horse exists in the ATR database we have linked to its form and tracker profile below, we will update others when they become available.  

BRAZIL
Bay Colt: Galileo – Dialafara
A full-brother to the Irish Derby winner Capri.
“He’s a lovely horse. We won’t be in a rush with him, but he’ll be one to look forward to when he’s ready to start off, probably in a seven-furlong maiden.”

CHIEF LITTLE HAWK
Bay Colt:  Air Force BlueMarylebone
Out of a Grade 1 winner in America, he is a half-brother to the useful Sloane Street.
“He is a sharp colt that shows plenty of speed at home. He looks one for the two-year-old races over five or six furlongs at Royal Ascot. He’ll be ready to run as soon as racing starts again.”

GIORGIO VASARI
Bay Colt:  Air Force BlueDream The Blues
He is a half-brother to the Group 1-winning juvenile Sioux Nation.
“He is a half-brother to a very fast and tough two-year-old in Sioux Nation and this colt looks to be cut from a very similar cloth. He’s fast and sharp at home. He is a real sprinting type. He very much looks like a Royal Ascot horse and will be ready to run as soon as racing restarts.”

HARVARD
Bay Colt: Galileo – How’s She Cuttin’
A half-brother to the high-class sprinter Washington DCfrom the sprinting family of Magic Flute.
“He is from a fast family and Galileo obviously works well with those fast mares. He is showing up very nicely at home so far. He could be one for the Chesham at Royal Ascot.”

HYDE PARK BARRACKS
Bay Colt:  Air Force BlueSecret Charm
A half-brother to the Group 1-placed Hidden Message, he realised €250,000 as a yearling.
“He is a fast, very sharp colt. He looks a real Royal Ascot two-year-old. I’m not sure how far he’ll stay, but sprinting should suit him well. We’d hope to run him as soon as racing recommences.”

LIPIZZANER
Bay Colt: Uncle MoIrish Lights
Out of a Group 1 winner in Australia and a half-brother to a Group 3-winning sprinter in Australia, he realised $650,000 at Keeneland as a yearling. He made a promising debut when finishing second at Naas in March.
“He’s the only two-year-old that we’ve been able to run so far and we were delighted with his debut effort at Naas. He ran very well there and we’ve been very happy with how well he has come forward from that run. We’d like to think he’ll be one for Royal Ascot.”

MERCHANTS QUAY
Chestnut Colt; No Nay NeverPainting
A half-brother to the smart Pisanello and from the family of Hydrangea and Hermosa, he realised €300,000 as a yearling.
“He’s a fast colt that is showing up well with our sharpest group of two-year-olds. He’ll be ready to run as soon as racing restarts and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he one for Royal Ascot over sprint trips.”

MONDAY
Bay Filly; Fastnet Rock – Ballydoyle
The first foal out of the Group 1-winning juvenile Ballydoyle.
“She’s a filly that is showing up well so far. She could be one for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.”

MONTEGO
Bay Filly; No Nay NeverLesson In Life
From the family of Lesson In Humility, she realised €250,000 at Goffs as a yearling.
“She looks to be a fast filly that is working well. She’d be a candidate for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot or maybe even the Queen Mary. She has a lot of pace.”

SAN MARTINO
Chestnut Colt; The Gurkha – Euphrasia 
Out of a Group 3 winner, he realised €260,000 at Goffs as a yearling.
“He is a lovely colt that is going very well. He could potentially be one for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.”

THE MEDITERRANEAN
Bay Colt:  The Gurkha – Larceny 
A half-brother to the Group 2 winner The Black Princess, he is out of a half-sister to Lawman. He realised €525,000 at Arqana as a yearling.
“He’s a lovely colt that is showing up well at home so far. He’ll be one to keep an eye out for when he starts off.”

VAN DONGEN
Bay Colt: American Pharoah – Imagine
Out of an Irish 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner that has produced a succession of high-class performers including the Group 1-winning juvenile Horatio Nelson.
“He’s a really nice colt that is showing up well so far. There won’t be any rush with him and he might not run until the seven-furlong maidens start being run, but he is a lovely horse from a family that we know well.”

Class of 2020: Aidan O'Brien
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