O’Brien plotting for world domination


Aidan O’Brien is busy working out his best strategy as he bids to surpass Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group One victories in a single calendar year.

The Ballydoyle supremo moved ever-closer over the weekend, claiming top-level prizes in both Britain and France and he is now just shy three shy of the Frankel tally.

Ascot on British Champions Day and the Breeders’ Cup meeting at Del Mar will offer O’Brien lots of chances to add to his tally and the Irishman is now trying to formulate his best course of action for both meetings.

The 2,000 Guineas winner Churchill and Commonwealth Cup hero Caravaggio are both likely to line up at Ascot on October 21 in what O’Brien expects may prove to be their racing swansongs.

Churchill is likely to be kept to a mile following his Irish Champion Stakes disappointment last month while Caravaggio may line up for one last dance with old rival Harry Angel.

“With Churchill we’re favouring him going over a mile at Ascot, but he has the chance of the Champion Stakes too,” O’Brien told the Irish Independent.

“Likely both he and Caravaggio will be retired at the end of the season, but Caravaggio should run in the sprint at Ascot.”

Caravaggio is 4/1 to take the Champions Sprint, where he could face one more battle with the outstanding Harry Angel, the 11/8 favourite for trainer Clive Cox.

O’Brien’s charge came out on top when they clashed in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June, though that form was emphatically reversed the following month in the July Cup at Newmarket by Harry Angel.

Churchill, meanwhile, can be backed at 15/2 to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over one mile on Champions Day at Ascot – a race for which Ribchester is the 9/4 market leader.

It promises to be a typically busy autumn for O’Brien’s Ballydoyle team, with the Breeders’ Cup hot on the heels of British Champions Day.

“Order Of St George ran a fine race in the Arc; we’ll look at the two-miler (Long Distance Cup) at Ascot,” the trainer added.

“We’ll chat to (Coolmore’s partners) about Winter, she could go to the Champion Stakes. I’m not sure about the mile and a half, she won’t run over it again this season, I’d have thought.

“Highland Reel has options in the Champion (Stakes) and America.”

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