Friday 15 February 2019

O'Brien's Kenya has strong credentials

Kenya, with Donnacha O’Brien on board, on the way to winning The Kilavullan Stakes at Leopardstown last October
Kenya, with Donnacha O’Brien on board, on the way to winning The Kilavullan Stakes at Leopardstown last October

Aidan O'Brien may have failed in winning a sixth Chester Vase in-a-row but he looks to have a strong hand in winning the Dee Stakes for a second consecutive year today.

Last year O'Brien won the race with Cliffs Of Moher who went on to finish second in the Derby and today KENYA (2.25) is picked to come out on top despite not being the mount of Ryan Moore.

Ballydoyle's first jockey will ride Rostropovich for O'Brien but Kenya has strong credentials.

Just prior to the end of racing at Chester yesterday the rain arrived and that was expected to continue overnight which may leave conditions tough but Kenya is a two-time winner on testing ground and should appreciate stepping up in trip from his last run in the 2000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown.

It is unlikely anything in here will trouble Saxon Warrior's stance as favourite for the Derby but Kenya can provide Donnacha O'Brien with another significant winner here.

Aidan O'Brien said of his duo: "Both are stepping up in trip. We didn't want to step them up too far.

"It will be good experience for them.

"Rostropovich ran well in a Guineas trial in Longchamp and Kenya ran in Leopardstown over seven furlongs on very bad ground.

"(We're) looking forward to getting them started and (we'll) see."

Just the six have been declared for the Group Three Ormonde Stakes on the card and IDAHO (3.35) would look a worthy favourite here.

This is a fairly significant drop in class for the Royal Ascot winner and it would be a surprise if he couldn't get his head back in front here.

O'Brien did land the Cheshire Oaks yesterday with Magic Wand leading home an Irish 1-2-3 in the race. Magic Wand broke her maiden tag in the race won by Enable last year when she led home stable companion Forever Together and Gavin Cromwell's Princess Yaiza back in third.

Ryan Moore was suitably impressed with the filly who still looked a bit green in the closing stages.

"She was very smooth. Obviously she had the one stall and she got away well," the jockey said.

"She had a good look all the way round there.

"She was looking at a car in front of her - there's a lot to look at here.

"She will carry on improving. This was a big step up from her last run and these fillies at this time of year should be improving and I'm sure she will."

Hunting Horn finished closest of O'Brien's runners in the Chester Vase but had to settle for third behind Young Rascal who was given a quote of 16/1 for the Derby by BoyleSports.

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