Aidan O’Brien lines up powerful trio of Magical, Japan and Serpentine for Champion Stakes at Ascot


Aidan O’Brien lines up powerful trio of Magical, Japan and Serpentine for Champion Stakes at Ascot  

  • Superstar mare Magical will lead a strong team for O’Brien this Saturday 
  • The 2019 winner could be joined by stablemates Japan and Serpentine
  • The pair missed the Arc after being caught up in a contaminated feed issue

Aidan O’Brien’s says the trio of 2019 winner Magical, Japan and Derby winner Serpentine are likely to make up his challenge for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Serpentine and Japan were among the O’Brien-trained horses which were pulled out of the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe on the eve of the race when the stable were caught up in a contaminated feed issue.

O’Brien said: ‘We had to think hard about it. For a long time they were being prepared for the Arc weekend and when you have to carry on for another two weeks it is not always ideal. You have to try to keep the momentum going and that can be tricky but they seem to be in good form.

 Aidan O’Brien-trained Derby winner Serpentine has been supplemented for the Arc on Sunday

‘We were really looking forward to the Arc with Serpentine and his prep race was very good and we felt he had moved up plenty from it.

‘The Champion Stakes has been Magical’s target since she won the Irish Champion Stakes. She has been a great filly and usually starts to progress in the Autumn. She ran in this race and loved it.

‘Ryan (Moore )always rides the No 1 horses and I would imagine that would be Magical.’

Grand Prix de Paris winner Mogul is also entered in the Champion Stakes but O’Brien said he is likely to be saved for a run in next month’s Breeders’ Cup Turf in the US.

That race had been an expected target of O’Brien’s 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner Love but O’Brien said she was unlikely to run again this season while staying in training in 2021.

O’Brien has trained eight winners on British Champions day and plans to run Circus Maximus in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He has won both his runs at Ascot in last season’s St James’s Palace Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes in July.

Circus Maximusm, who could be joined in the race by stablemate Royal Dornoch, must make up the five and three-quarter lengths he was beaten by Saturday’s favourite Palace Pier in the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville in August but O’Brien believes he has reason to believe that could happen.

O’Brien said: ‘Circus Maximus is a tough hardened horse who loves to get into a battle. The Jacques Le Marois was a pretty strongly run race and we went forward while Palace Pier took his time. The ground was very deep as well, and Deauville is a flat track whereas Ascot is stiffer. Our horse has run some big races there so we are looking forward to it.’

O’Brien plans to run Broome, Dawn Patrol and Sovereign in the Long Distance Cup while Lope Y Fernandez is a possible for the Champion Sprint but he could be saved for a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

O’Brien’s Royal Ascot two-year-old winner Battleground, who has not run since winning the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, is being targeted at next month’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.



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Frankie Dettori-ridden St Mark’s Basilica holds off stablemate Wembley to win the Dewhurst Stakes  


No mix-up this time for Aidan O’Brien as Frankie Dettori-ridden St Mark’s Basilica holds off stablemate Wembley to win the Darley Dewhurst Stakes  

  • Ballydoyle pair had finished behind Thunder Moon at the Curragh last time out
  • St Mark’s Basilica led home a one-two for trainer Aidan O’Brien on Saturday
  • It came 24 hours after two runners in the Fillies’ Mile were mixed up by staff

St Mark’s Basilica ensured one of the most testing and bizarre weeks of Aidan O’Brien’s career ended in familiar fashion when he led home a one-two for the trainer in the Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

The three-quarter-length win for the Frankie Dettori-ridden 10-1 shot from Ryan Moore-ridden Wembley, came 24 hours after O’Brien’s two runners in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket were mixed up by his staff. It meant third-placed Snowfall was actually Mother Earth, who officially finished eighth.

That matter has now been referred to the BHA disciplinary department. And St Mark’s Basilica should not have even been in the Dewhurst line-up. He had been due to run at Longchamp last Sunday but was one of the runners that had to be pulled out of the meeting when O’Brien’s stable get caught up in a contaminated feed issue.

St Mark’s Basilica (centre) led home a one-two for Aidan O’Brien in the Dewhurst Stakes

‘It’s been one of those weeks but that’s the way the cards were falling for us,’ said O’Brien. ‘We do our best to make things happen and then things happen which are not in your control and you can’t do anything about them.’

What was considered an above-average running of traditionally the most important two-year-old race of the season developed into a virtual re-run of the National Stakes at the Curragh, which was won by Thunder Moon with Wembley second and St Mark’s Basilica third.

On Saturday, Thunder Moon, the 11-4 favourite trained by Joseph O’Brien, finished third.

Aidan O’Brien added: ‘Ryan rode St Mark’s Basilica at the Curragh and thought he was a bit babyish and would improve. We also probably had a better draw than Thunder Moon today as the closer to the stands’ rail you were the better.’



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Fivethousandtoone backed to make big step up in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury 


Fivethousandtoone backed to make big step up and gain revenge on unbeaten Bahrain Pride in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury

  • Andrew Balding seeking first win in the feature at Newbury on Saturday
  • Race named after the 1971 Derby and Arc winner trained by his father Ian
  • Fivethousandtoone faces seven rivals including unbeaten Bahrain Pride

Fivethousandtoone is 9-4 favourite with Coral to give trainer Andrew Balding his first win in the feature Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

Balding has yet to win the race named after the brilliant 1971 Derby and Arc winner trained by his father Ian.

Fivethousandtoone, who was an effortless winner at Newcastle on his last run, faces seven rivals including Bahrain Pride, who beat him on his Windsor debut.

Fivethousandtoone faces Bahrain Pride (above), who beat him on his Windsor debut

Balding said: ‘He’s a horse we’ve always liked a lot at home, so it was great to see him be so impressive on the racecourse at Newcastle. It is a big step up for him but the ground will suit and he is bred to be a decent horse.

‘We have been placed a few times in the Mill Reef and for obvious reasons it would mean a lot to win the race for the whole family. We will be giving it our best shot.’

Fivethousandtoone, a son of Frankel who cost 475,000gn as a yearling, carries the colours of King Power and is named after the odds bookmakers quoted for Leicester City ahead of their sensational 2015-16 Premier League winning season.



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Frankie Dettori’s Enable secures bloodless seven-length win in the Unibet September Stakes 


Frankie Dettori’s Enable secures bloodless seven-length win in the Unibet September Stakes

  • Enable secured a bloodless seven-length win in the Unibet September Stakes  
  • Frankie Dettori’s mount was in front of a furlong and proceeded to prevail
  • Enable will attempt to win a historic third L’Arc de Triomphe next month 

Enable smoothly came through her final race before her attempt to win an historic third Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe next month with a bloodless seven-length win in the Unibet September Stakes at Kempton.

Frankie Dettori’s mount missed a beat at the start but was in front after a furlong and sprinted away in the final two furlong in the style expected of a 1-14 favourite.

What is expected to be Enable’s last run in Britain was witnessed by a crowd of staff and owners of around 200 people. But she was enthusiastically applauded back to the winner’s enclosure before Dettori performed a flying dismount and knelt before his favourite horse saying: ‘I kneel for my girl.’

Frankie Dettori is delighted after Enable secured a bloodless seven-length win in the Unibet September Stakes

Afterwards Dettori said: ‘We came here to do a job and it was no contest really. We were last the last into the stalls and the rope of the handler smacked her in the face. That’s why she missed the break but these things happen.

‘She had a good work-out in the final two furlongs and had a good blow. It was just what we wanted. All roads lead to Longchamp now and the dream is still alive.’

Enable remains 9-4 second favourite for the Arc on October 4, with Aidan O’Brien-trained Love, winner of this season’s 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks, the 2-1 favourite.

Enable will attempt to win an historic third Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe next month

Enable will attempt to win an historic third Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe next month

Meanwhile, Enable’s trainer John Gosden said that under current COVID-19 restrictions, which require a 14-day quarantine on return from France, he will not be able to accompany the mare on her Arc challenge.

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy said it was a ‘dream come true’ to ride a group one winner for trainer Sir Michael Stoute as 5-2 favourite Dream of Dreams finished strongly to win the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock by a length and a quarter from Hollie Doyle-ridden Glen Shiel.

Oisin Murphy said it was a 'dream come true' as Dream of Dreams (centre, blue and yellow cap) won the Betfair Sprint Cup

Oisin Murphy said it was a ‘dream come true’ as Dream of Dreams (centre, blue and yellow cap) won the Betfair Sprint Cup 

Murphy, who starts a careless riding suspension on Monday which rules him out of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting, said: ‘Haydock has been a happy hunting ground for me. I rode my first group winner here on Hot Streak in 2014 and it is a dream come true to ride a group one winner for Sir Michael.

‘He lost his partner Coral in the last few weeks. I hope the win lifts his spirits and those of the yard.’



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Enable made favourite in September Stakes as John Godsen confirms Logician will miss Kempton clash


Enable made favourite in September Stakes as John Godsen confirms Logician will miss Kempton clash

  • Enable has emerged as heavy favourite ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Kempton
  • Trainer John Godsen has revealed stablemate Logician will not enter the race
  • Enable set for last British race before seeking third Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe win

Enable is the 1-5 favourite with Ladbrokes for Saturday’s September Stakes at Kempton after confirmation John Gosden-trained stablemate Logician will not take her on even though the 2019 St Leger winner features among the nine entries.

Enable will be having what is expected to be her last race in Britain before trying to win an historic third Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe on October 4 while Logician would be making his delayed seasonal debut after illness.

But Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khaled Abdullah, said: ‘They won’t run against each other. Enable is very much an intended runner at this stage. 

Enable is the 1-5 favourite with Ladbrokes for Saturday’s September Stakes at Kempton

‘We entered Logician just in case, as he is nearing a return and we’re considering a couple of different options.’

Highest rated of Enable’s potential opponents is Charlie Fellowes-trained Prince of Arran, who has twice been placed in the Melbourne Cup.

Meanwhile Roger Teal-trained July Cup winner Oxted is 7-2 favourite for Saturday’s Group One Haydock Sprint Cup.



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Sussex Stakes winner Mohaather retired after picking up ‘significant bone bruising’ in his leg


Sussex Stakes winner Mohaather retired after picking up ‘significant bone bruising’ in his leg

  • Mohaather has been retired after picking up ‘significant bone bruising’
  • The colt came out on top in this year’s stellar renewal of the Sussex Stakes 
  • He was being aimed at a clash with Palace Pier in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 

Mohaather, who provided one of the high points of the disrupted 2020 Flat season with a withering turn of foot to win the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, has been retired after sustaining a leg injury.

The colt, trained by Marcus Tregoning and owned by Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum, was being aimed at a clash with Palace Pier in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October and then a possible tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Mohaather (above) came out on top in this year’s stellar renewal of the Sussex Stakes

Tregoning said: ‘It’s a blow but the horse retires intact, that’s the main thing.

‘He was a dream to train. The Goodwood win was fantastic. When you watch it.’

Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager Angus Gold added: ‘Towards the end of last week it was noticed that Mohaather was not moving as well as he had been immediately after the Sussex Stakes. 

‘Precautionary X-rays were taken over the weekend which have revealed significant bone bruising in his near hind fetlock joint; unfortunately this will put paid to the rest of his campaign, and as a result Sheikh Hamdan has taken the decision to retire the colt to stud.’



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Battaash retains Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes after fighting back from two-length deficit


Battaash retains Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes after fighting back from two length deficit in 40mph winds and rain softened ground to take victory 

  • Battaash defied odds to retain the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes with victory
  • Jim Crowley on-board Battaash fought back from two lengths down to win 
  • They battled it through 40mph winds and ground softened by heavy rain 

Battaash toughed it out as he defied 40mph winds and ground softened by rain to land the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes for the second year running.

Time was when such obstacles would have tripped up the fastest horse in training but the gelding who was once the unpredictable Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of Flat racing has developed into Mr Consistency and the 1-2 favourite dug deep to beat 22-1 runner-up Que Amoro by a length.

Victory for the Charlie Hills-trained gelding completed a brilliant afternoon for his jockey Jim Crowley and owner Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum, who completed 127-1 four-timer with Owen Burrows-trained Minzaal (Gimcrack Stakes) and John Gosden-trained pair, Enbihaar (Lonsdale Stakes) and Alfaatik (Sky Bet Handicap).

Jim Crowley on board Battaash on their way to winning at York Racecourse on Friday

Battaash did well to cut back a two-length deficit to win The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes

Battaash did well to cut back a two-length deficit to win The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes 

But it was Battaash who stole the show as he cut back a two-length deficit at half-way to haul in the Michael Dods-trained runner-up to win going away with Moss Gill a further two lengths back in third.

Crowley said: ‘He is the horse of a lifetime. If you get one in your career like him you are lucky. He had to be a man today. He stuck his neck down. We went a serious gallop and there was a strong tail wind blowing us towards the stands rail.

‘In the past, he has often won his races by half-way so fair play to the second who has run a mighty race.’

York has not always been a happy hunting ground for Battaash. He has twice been beaten in the Nunthorpe. Next up should be the Prix De L’Abbaye at Longchamp on Arc day, where the heavy ground did for him last year.

Hills admitted a repeat of those conditions might mean a change of plan. The trainer added: ‘The Abbaye is the obvious route to take but if the ground is like last year I’d say we’d probably look elsewhere.’

By that stage of the season, the few options include the Breeders’ Cup, a target Sheik Hamdan has been reluctant to chase with Battaash in the past.

Crowley described Battaash as 'the horse of a lifetime' after riding away to victory on Friday

Crowley described Battaash as ‘the horse of a lifetime’ after riding away to victory on Friday

Crowley and Sheik Hamdan have had what the jockey described as a ‘golden summer’ with mass successes at both Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.

In Minzaal they have a horse for the future. Burrows, who has a St Leger candidate for Sheik Hamdan in Geoffrey Freer Stakes winner Hukum, sees the smooth two-length Gimcrack Stakes winner as a potential candidate for next season’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot with more immediately a shot at the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket next month.

Meanwhile, Dods, later successful with Callum Rodriguez-ridden Brunch in the Sky Bet Mile Stakes, may look to the Group One Flying Five at the Curragh next month with Que Amoro.

The man who landed back-to-back Nunthorpes with Mecca’s Angel and won a Group One sprint prize with Mabs Cross, has unearthed another speedy filly and one who cost only 28,000 guineas.



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Charlie Appleby-trained Ghaiyyath made favourite for Juddmonte International Stakes


Charlie Appleby-trained Ghaiyyath made favourite for Juddmonte International Stakes at York

  • Ghaiyyath has been named favourite for Juddmonte International Stakes at York
  • William Buick’s mount already has wins in Coronation Cup and Eclipse Stakes
  • Ghaiyyath’s rivals include Aidan O’Brien’s six-time group one winner Magical

Charlie Appleby-trained Ghaiyyath is the 11-8 favourite with Coral for the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Wednesday.

William Buick’s mount will bid to add the most prestigious prize at the four-day Ebor meeting to group one wins already this season in the Coronation Cup and Eclipse Stakes.

Ghaiyyath’s five rivals include Aidan O’Brien’s six-time group one winning mare Magical (4-1), Andrew Balding-trained 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko (7-2), who was an unlucky fourth in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on his last run, and John Gosden-trained Lord North (4-1), who won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Ghaiyyath is favourite for the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes at York

Roger Charlton’s Aspetar (14-1), winner of the Group Two York Stakes last month, and Mark Johnston’s Musidora Stakes winner Rose of Kildare (100-1), complete the line-up.

Mogul, Highland Chief and Subjectivist – the 1-2-3 in the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood – face a re-match the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes.

Added spice in a contest which can act as a stepping stone to next month’s St Leger is provided by Gosden’s unbeaten Darain, brother to Too Darn Hot who cost £3,675,000. He has won his only two races but takes a big step up in class.

Meanwhile, the task facing Battaash as he tries to win Friday’s Group One Nunthorpe Stakes for a second time has been eased with Wesley Ward-trained two-year-old Golden Pal, runner-up at Royal Ascot, not now making the trip from the US.



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Lucky Vega impresses with dominant win in eventful Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh 


Lucky Vega impresses with dominant win in eventful Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh

  • Lucky Vega delivered another victory for Jessica Harrington on Sunday
  • The son of Lope De Vega led from the start and was never threatened 
  • Space Blues led home a British-trained 1-2 in the Prix Maurice De Gheest

Jessica Harrington unveiled another superstar juvenile on Sunday when Lucky Vega displayed an explosive turn of foot to lift the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Noted travelling strongly throughout the Group 1 feature in the hands of Shane Foley, the speedy son of Lope De Vega quickened markedly at the furlong marker to leave rivals like The Lir Jet in his wake and earn quotes of 16-1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

A delighted Harrington said: ‘We thought he was working well, but you never know and everyone said this was a strong renewal.

Lucky Vega, ridden by Shane Foley,after winning the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes

‘Shane (Foley) said we should be thinking about the Middle Park and I think he’ll get seven furlongs in time as well.’ There was also Group 1 glory in France for trainer Charlie Appleby who witnessed Space Blues lead home a British-trained 1-2 in the Prix Maurice De Gheest.

A smooth winner of the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, Space Blues produced a smart change of gear for rider William Buick to overhaul the Kevin Ryan-trained Hello Youmzain close home.

L Regal Reality relished the return to a mile to run out an emphatic winner of Salisbury’s Group 3 Sovereign Stakes under Richard Kingscote.

The speedy son of Lope De Vega quickened markedly at the furlong marker

The speedy son of Lope De Vega quickened markedly at the furlong marker



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Hukum set to race at Geoffrey Freer Stakes in Newbury if he comes through workout on Wednesday


Royal Ascot winner Hukum set to race at Geoffrey Freer Stakes in Newbury if he comes through workout on Wednesday…. after the King George V Stakes winner missed Glorious Goodwood

  • Hukum missed Glorious Goodwood after sustaining a hind-leg injury 
  • His trainer Owen Burrows is aiming for him to be ready for Newbury next week
  • Burrows landed his first Glorious Goodwood winner with Muraad on Saturday

Trainer Owen Burrows will aim Royal Ascot winner Hukum at the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury a week on Saturday if his colt comes through a work-out satisfactorily at his Lambourn stable in Wednesday.

The winner of the King George V Stakes at the royal meeting missed Glorious Goodwood to be given more time to recover from a hind-leg injury when he was clipped by another horse.

The Geoffrey Freer Stakes is regularly used as a platform to the St Leger for three-year-olds.

Hukum won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot but missed Glorious Goodwood

His trainer Owen Burrows is aiming to have Hukum ready for Newbury a week on Saturday

His trainer Owen Burrows is aiming to have Hukum ready for Newbury a week on Saturday

Burrows said: ‘We thought about Goodwood but decided to give Hukum more time. He was struck into at Ascot and had a shoe pulled off so something got him good and he needed plenty of stitches. We’ll look to the Geoffrey Freer if all goes well on Wednesday when I am hoping Jim Crowley will be able to come down to ride him.’

Burrows landed his first Glorious Goodwood winner on Saturday when Muraad won the concluding LG Signature Apprentice Handicap under Cieren Fallon.

It was sixth winner at the meeting for owner Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum. He was also successful in France on Saturday with easy winner Raabibah in the Prix Psyche at Deauville.

Muraad ridden by jockey Cieren Fallon won the LG Signature Apprentice Handicap Stakes

Muraad ridden by jockey Cieren Fallon won the LG Signature Apprentice Handicap Stakes

Raabibah’s only defeat in four races came behind Donnacha O’Brien’s Nassau Stakes winner Fancy Blue and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget is adamant Raabibah will be better at a mile and a half.

She will be aimed, like stablemate Sottsass, at the Arc and a clash with Enable at Lomgchamp in October.

Rouget said: ‘She didn’t have enough experience to get herself out of trouble in the French Oaks. For me she is the best French filly around. She will run in the Arc, taking in the Prix Vermeille as a prep race along the way. 



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Continue Reading Hukum set to race at Geoffrey Freer Stakes in Newbury if he comes through workout on Wednesday