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Thursday 23 November 2017

Master Aidan back to best at royal ascot

Ryan Moore on Caravaggio wins the Commonwealth Cup ahead of Adam Kirby on Harry Angel and third-placed William Buick on Blue Point at Royal Ascot yesterday. Pic: Getty
Ryan Moore on Caravaggio wins the Commonwealth Cup ahead of Adam Kirby on Harry Angel and third-placed William Buick on Blue Point at Royal Ascot yesterday. Pic: Getty

Churchill under performed on Tuesday, Order Of St George succumbed to the toughness of Big Orange but Caravaggio was determined not to give up his unbeaten record in the Commonwealth Cup and Winter excelled once again on a dominant day for Ballydoyle and Coolmore yesterday.

Scarily, Aidan O'Brien would convince you that Caravaggio had arrived at Royal Ascot with more improvement to come. Never short of bold statements, but that is some leap of faith, and so to is the fact that connections are mulling a trip to Sydney for the Everest Sprint in October.

It's one thing beating the three-year-olds in the Commonwealth Cup, which is no mean feat against the likes of Harry's Angel, Blue Point and Amercian raider Bound For Nowhere, but to go and take on the Australian sprinters in their own back yard for a $10m pot would be the boldest of moves yet everything O'Brien says about the colt suggests that we'll see the son of Scat Daddy at his very best later this year.

The master trainer insisted: "We were a little bit worried. He was just ready to come here for his second run. We hadn't really chased him or done anything.

"I'd say there is plenty (more to come)," O'Brien continued. "He was asleep today, he wasn't woke up in anyway and was just ready to come racing again. We felt today we were going to race against three-year-olds but we knew if everything went well that we were going to meet older horses the next day and are letting him come along nicely hopefully."

Given that O'Brien would have been fully aware that John Magnier and co were considering a trip to Australia in October, O'Brien's seemingly high risk approach is more than logical and surely a compliment to the ability of the the six-time winner.

"The lads had it in their mind to come here and then maybe somewhere like the July Cup and then somewhere else after that.

"The lads have a plan in their mind that he might go to Australia for the Everest, so we have to be very conscious now if we want him to last for the autumn."

Winter managed the rare feat of doing the 1,000 Guineas double and then triumphing at Royal Ascot as she claimed the Coronation Stakes with a "professional" performance according to Ryan Moore.

Winter, who is likely to stay in mares company rather than take on the colts just yet, was leading home a 1-2-3 for O'Brien with Roly Poly and Hydrangea filling the places.

The Falmouth Stakes was earmarked as the next port of call as connections eye a fourth consecutive Group one.

"All these Group One races are hard to win and I don't ever think about it, so we just go from one race to another.

"She is obviously a very good filly to make it happen. She was very good at Newmarket and the Curragh and did it well again here today. We might head to the Falmouth in three weeks' time, but we will see how she is as she has had four quick races in not a lot of time."

Jessica Harrington's Alpha Centauri came within a neck of providing the trainer with a first Royal Ascot success in the Albany Stakes but had to give best to the French-trained, Irish-owned Different League who was saddled by Matthieu Palussiere for Con Marnane, who bought the unbeaten filly for €8,000 in December 2015 and couldn't sell her at the sales for €14,000 the following August.

"I'm delighted now nobody wanted her," said an ecstatic Marnane.

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