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Tuesday 21 November 2017

O'Brien upbeat on Stein form

Aidan O'Brien has issued an upbeat bulletin regarding Steinbeck as the high-profile colt prepares to make his seasonal debut in the Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh tomorrow.

Steinbeck is one of six runners in the Classic for Ballydoyle, but O'Brien has made no secret of the regard in which he holds the son of Footstepsinthesand.

Having finished fourth in the Dewhurst on only his second start, he was forced to miss the Newmarket Guineas after a little problem but it is all systems go now.

"It will be his first run of the year but he's just ready to run and hopefully he's ready to run a nice race," said O'Brien.

"He won his conditions race really impressively, then he ran in the Dewhurst, where he ran a lovely race but just got tired in last 50 yards.

"He was ready to run in the spring but had a little setback before Newmarket.

"Rather than force him and rush him, we gave him time and he's had it now. He's had a racecourse gallop, matured well and he's just ready to start back."

O'Brien also runs Fencing Master, second in the Dewhurst and seventh on his reappearance in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, four lengths behind Makfi. "He's in good form, he came out of the race well," he added. "Since then our horses have been improving a good deal for their first run."

O'Brien also runs the outsiders Dynasty, Encompassing, Purple Heart and Viscount Nelson.

John Oxx is hoping Keredari will be up to the test after he made all over seven furlongs on this track on his reappearance last month.

"The ground at the Curragh was very holding, sticky sort of ground. I didn't think he'd handle it, but he got through it better than the opposition," said the Currabeg trainer.

"I don't think he particularly has a ground preference. He won his maiden on good to firm, so time will tell. We are still finding out a bit about him.

"Perhaps he'd have an advantage if the ground was soft, that's not going to be the case."

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