O’Brien hits record with Saxon War­rior

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING - NICK ROB­SON

AI­DAN O’Brien se­cured a record 26th Group One vic­tory of the year as Saxon War­rior claimed the Rac­ing Post Tro­phy at Doncaster. The Deep Im­pact colt made a huge im­pres­sion on his race­course de­but at the Cur­ragh and hav­ing fol­lowed up in last month’s Beres­ford Stakes at Naas, he was the 13-8 favourite to pro­vide his trainer with an eighth tri­umph in this ju­ve­nile event.

Ryan Moore’s mount trav­elled pow­er­fully through­out the one-mile con­test, but looked booked for mi­nor hon­ours when the John Gos­den-trained Roar­ing Line swept along­side and briefly went to the front.

How­ever, he veered off a true line when push came to shove, giv­ing Saxon War­rior a chance and he fought back ad­mirably to claim a his­toric vic­tory by a neck. The win­ner’s sta­ble­mate, The Pen­tagon, was third.

O’Brien sur­passed the record for num­ber of top-level wins in a cal­en­dar year set by Amer­i­can trainer Bobby Frankel in 2003.

He said: “I’m de­lighted and de­lighted for ev­ery­body. There’s a lot of hard work put in by a lot of peo­ple in Bal­ly­doyle and Cool­more.

“It’s un­be­liev­able re­ally. There are so many peo­ple who put in so much hard work day in, day out. If I start men­tion­ing peo­ple, I’d for­get some­body. They know who they are.

Of Saxon War­rior, the trainer added: “He trav­elled very strong and Ryan gave him a bril­liant ride.

“When John’s horse went by him you thought he was beaten, but he found plenty and we’re de­lighted.”

O’Brien paid trib­ute to the Cool­more tri­umvi­rate of John Mag­nier, Michael Ta­bor and Der­rick Smith for pro­duc­ing such in­cred­i­ble thor­ough­breds for him to train.

He said: “You’re al­ways afraid when you want some­thing to hap­pen, it doesn’t hap­pen.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it when this horse came back. When John’s horse came by him I said ‘that’s it, he’ll be sec­ond’, but Ryan re­ally con­jured a new run out of him.

“It’s been a funny year re­ally. A lot of horses have pro­gressed and pro­gressed. There were so many horses like that, it was un­usual.

“A lot of very well-bred horses just got bet­ter and bet­ter. The lads have an un­be­liev­able band of mares and stal­lions and there are a lot of horses with blue-chip pedi­grees. The genes are ob­vi­ously there if you can get them to fire up.”

Saxon War­rior is as short as 6-1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas and a best priced 5-1 favourite for the Ep­som Derby.

O’Brien added: “He trav­elled very well. Ryan said he sur­prised him how quickly he jumped into it.”

Ai­dan O’Brien watches with his wife Ann-Marie as Saxon War­rior wins at Doncaster yes­ter­day

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