The master of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, gives the lowdown on the vast array of talent at his disposal for the 2022 Flat season.
O’Brien is simply a phenomenon in the world of racing. Since being appointed as the trainer in the historic Ballydoyle complex in 1996 at the age of just 26, he has broken every record worth breaking and won every race worth winning in Europe and beyond.
This year promises to be another exciting and high-achieving one for Ballydoyle. O’Brien’s formidable team of three-year-olds is headed up by the unbeaten Luxembourg who features prominently in the markets for both the 2000 Guineas and the Derby.
Another unbeaten prospect heads up his three-year-old fillies in the shape of Tenebrism who created such a good impression in the Cheveley Park Stakes last season.
O’Brien spoke to Kevin Blake to discuss these and many more exciting prospects for the season ahead…
He worked very well at the Curragh over the weekend and we might look to start him off in either the Alleged Stakes next month or the Mooresbridge Stakes in May.
Looking at him now, he was probably too weak last season. We might just have overdone it by running him a second time as a two-year-old and it took more out of him than we thought.
She’s the main older filly that has been kept in training here. We were delighted with her winning return at the Curragh and she should benefit plenty from that run. She will have loads of options in Group One races over a mile both against fillies and colts throughout the season.
Order Of Australia
He suffered a small fracture in his last run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but he’s back now and in great form. He finished close up behind the best milers around last season and held his form well.
We are looking at the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot for his first big target. We will decide closer to the time whether we will give him a run or a racecourse gallop before it. I don’t think he will be ready for the Lockinge.
He’s one that we have in mind for the Derby Trial at Leopardstown in May. He’s a very straightforward horse, he was just green when he ran in the Zetland. He has a lazy way of going and we have not seen the best of him on the track yet.
The plan is to run her in the 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown at the weekend. She had to have a chip taken out of her knee after her run in the Group One at Naas and that was why she didn’t run again last season.
She’s going very well. We always thought she was very classy. She’s a half-sister to Fancy Blue and is out of a full-sister to High Chaparral, so there must be a good chance that she will stay a mile.
The plan is to run him in the 2000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown this weekend. He’s going very well and is showing plenty of pace. He missed a lot of time after he made a very promising winning debut in April last year and we were just playing catch up with him all season.
His run at the Breeders’ Cup was just much too soon for him. Ryan said he could not get him organised around the track; he was just too green. He could be a horse for the Poule d’Essai des Poulains.
We were all very happy with his work at the Curragh over the weekend and he will go straight to the 2000 Guineas. There was not much between him and Point Lonsdale in the work and the two of them will go there with a fair chance. You would hope both of them will stay the Derby trip too.
He’s a bigger horse than Camelot was, rangier, but I think he has more pace than him. He finds it easy to go fast. Camelot was the only son of Montjeu to ever win a Group One over a mile as a three-year-old, but this fella is probably better equipped for a 2000 Guineas.
I was very happy with his work at the Curragh over the weekend. That was the first time ever him and Luxembourg worked together. I thought the two of them worked very well and the plan is to send them both straight to the 2000 Guineas.
He reminds me of his sire Australia. He has a great mind and is very brave. He has plenty of pace and will stay well too. He likes nice ground even though he was often racing on softer ground last season.
Star Of India
We worked him at the Curragh over the weekend to try and decide whether he is likely to be a Guineas horse or a Derby horse, but we did not necessarily get a clear answer as he has a bit of a lazy way of going that makes him difficult to judge.
I would not like to put a ceiling on him as because of his laid-back demeanour we will not know what’s under the bonnet until we test him on the track. We are keeping our options open with him for now.
He improved throughout last season and is probably one of the highest-rated maidens around. He’s starting back in a maiden at Navan tomorrow and could be one for a Derby trial after that if all goes smoothly.
We were very happy with Tenebrism’s work at the Curragh over the weekend. Ryan was very happy with her. He felt there was a good chance that she will stay the mile. They went a good gallop in front of her for seven-and-a-half furlongs and she picked up well off it. She will go straight to the 1000 Guineas.
We were very happy with her performance at Naas on Sunday. She will come on plenty from that and she looks like one that will stay further. She’s relaxed and laid back. The 1000 Guineas might just be too early for her, so we might look to get another run into her in a Guineas trial and then go for the Irish 1,000 Guineas. She could be an Oaks candidate after that.