Goodwood build-up: O'Brien eyes double - Arkell just wants rain

Champion flat trainer Aidan O'Brien has his eyes on Glorious Goodwood's big prizes '“ and few would bet against him landing at least one of them.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 3:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 3:18 pm
The Gurkha, nearest the camera, gave Aidan O'Brien his most recent Sussex Stakes winner in 2016 / Picture by Tommy McMillan

The in-form Irishman has lined up runners for races including the Qatar Goodwood Cup on July 31 and Qatar Sussex Stakes on August 1, and is also planning an entry or two in the big Group 2 races for two-year-olds.

O’Brien, who has had 18 Glorious Goodwood winners, said: “The Qatar Sussex Stakes is the plan for Gustav Klimt. If everything goes well, that is what we are looking at for him.

“He has had a busy season so far. We were happy with his run last time in France (third in the G1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville) and we think Goodwood might really suit him.

The Gurkha, nearest the camera, gave Aidan O'Brien his most recent Sussex Stakes winner in 2016 / Picture by Tommy McMillan

“He is a fast horse and we think a mile is his maximum. There is every chance that he will be suited by an easier mile. Ascot and the Curragh are both tough miles and he travelled very well in those races. We just think a mile on fast ground at Goodwood is probably an easier mile for him.

“Last time at Deauville they went hard all the way and you need to stay well at that track. We just think that he will be very happy on the track and the bends at Goodwood.

“Things just haven’t really worked for him so far this season. He probably needs a bit of cover in his race so that he can quicken. We think and hope it could happen.

“We could also run one or two of the other entries. Our horse Happily has been running over further, but might be happy going back to a mile so we will see about that.

“We were delighted with Clemmie last time at Newmarket (third to the Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri in G1 Falmouth Stakes) last week and thought that she had progressed from the Irish Guineas. We think that she can progress more, so she is also in the mix.”

The £500,000 Qatar Goodwood Cup could see O’Brien send Idaho to post.

“We felt that we would go beyond a mile and six furlongs with Idaho sometime,” said O’Brien.

“He won the Ormonde Stakes well at Chester and we have always felt that Goodwood might suit him. He is better going right-handed and feel that the step up in trip will suit and help bring out some improvement.”

The Ballydoyle operation have other Goodwood targets.

“Rhododendron is a possible for the Qatar Nassau Stakes or she could go to the Sussex Stakes or to France,” added O’Brien.

“She is in very good form and we were half-thinking of running her with Clemmie at Newmarket last week. She is ready to go.

“We have a Galileo colt out of Christmas Kid (named Christmas) who won at Roscommon last week and he is a possible for the Qatar Vintage Stakes.

With the two-year-olds, we try to decide nearer the time as they are changing so much at this time of year, but hopefully we’ll be competing in the main races.”]