| 15.4°C Dublin

Rethink on Air Force


Aidan O’Brien with US Army Ranger during a press day at Ballyboyle

Aidan O’Brien with US Army Ranger during a press day at Ballyboyle


Aidan O’Brien with US Army Ranger during a press day at Ballyboyle

Aidan O'Brien is planning a total rethink with Air Force Blue as he tries to get back on the winning track in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday week.

The War Front colt racked up three successive Group One wins last term to be crowned champion juvenile and was sent off an odds-on favourite to pick up where he left off in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

However, Air Force Blue was never in the race, eventually finishing some 15 lengths behind winner Galileo Gold.

O'Brien is likely to leave off the headgear that was applied in the hope of eking out his stamina.

He said: "I don't think the tongue tie will be left on. Anything I did for the English Guineas, I won't do again as it was a dramatic failure, really.

"It was put on because his work was very good, but his second last piece of work I was shocked how quick he was.

"Sometimes when you put a tongue tie on a horse and a cross noseband, it can make them slow down a little bit and he did that straight away in his canters.

"You are making calls all the time and sometimes you can make very bad calls. If you think something will make a horse better, I would always rather do it and not be afraid to say it was the call afterwards. Everything we do is in good faith at the time.

"I would imagine the noseband and the tongue tie will be off. It will be interesting.

"I still won't believe that he is going to get a mile until I see it, but I would imagine looking at his work recently he is going to travel very strong early. That is his natural way of doing it.

"He wants good ground and he wouldn't run if the ground was soft.

"The Curragh comes at a good time and it sorts out your plans for Ascot. It will be his last chance in a Classic against three-year-olds over a mile. He could make progress to the Curragh and to Ascot."

O'Brien is also keen to underline his faith in Investec Derby candidate US Army Ranger despite his slightly uninspiring victory in last week's Chester Vase.

O'Brien said: "I know everyone is knocking this horse, but they shouldn't be.

"If we hadn't have ran (runner-up) Port Douglas at Chester, the other horse (US Army Ranger) would have been an eight-length winner and would be a very short price for the Derby."

O'Brien is not ruling out taking on the colts at some stage with 1000 Guineas heroine Minding, but she appears increasingly likely to race amongst her own sex at Epsom in the Investec Oaks - rather than in the Derby.

The Ballydoyle handler said: "You can't say for sure that Minding would get a mile and a half.

"It is not guaranteed by any means. If she goes to the Oaks she will be the number one."