Aidan O’Brien: ‘Saxon Warrior is in very good form and has come out of the 2000 Guineas very well’


Aidan O’Brien and jockey Joseph O’Brien after winning the Derby with Australia.

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AIDAN O’BRIEN has given an upbeat report on the well-being of hot favourite Saxon Warrior ahead of the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on June 2.

The son of Japanese-based stallion Deep Impact extended his unbeaten record to four races when securing an emphatic victory in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5 under Aidan O’Brien’s son Donnacha O’Brien.

The stable’s No.1 jockey, Ryan Moore, takes over for the Derby, which O’Brien is attempting to win for the seventh time having won the Epsom Classic with Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014), and Wings Of Eagles (2017).

“Saxon Warrior is in very good form at home and has come out of the 2000 Guineas very well. He is a good traveller and a very well balanced colt,” the trainer said.

“We couldn’t be happier with him and he seems very well in himself.

“We always thought he was a very high-quality colt and he’s done everything right so far.

“He’s a very strong blend of Danehill, Galileo and Deep Impact. We haven’t had anything like him before. He’s exciting.

“We were always looking forward to stepping him up in distance. In the 2000 Guineas, he travelled like a miler and quickened like a miler, but we always thought he was going to be a middle distance horse – he is very good.”

O’Brien currently has seven of the 16 entries in the Derby which this year carries a record £1.5million in total prize money. His other potential contenders are:  Delano Roosevelt, The Pentagon, Rostropovich, Kew Gardens, Zabriskie and Nelson.

The trainer added: “I’m very happy with Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon following their runs at Leopardstown. I would imagine they will head to Epsom as will Kew Gardens and possibly Zabriskie, who ran very well at York in the Dante. Nelson is another possible – he was slightly disappointing at Leopardstown last time – as is Rostropovich.

“We will have a clearer idea of what horses will run in the Derby towards the end of the week, when the lads (the members of the Coolmore partnerships) will sit down and decide what they want to run.

“It depends upon what the lads decide, but obviously all those horses are born, bred and raised to be Derby horses.

“They’re in good shape and they’re well. The lads like to give them their chance, like they did last year.”

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