Classic trials key to Minding plans

Aidan O’Brien believes the upcoming Classic trials over the next two weeks will be crucial to connections as they map out the next move for 1000 Guineas winner Minding.

Classic trials key to Minding plans

With a handful of rehearsal contests at Chester starting on Tuesday, followed by Lingfield’s Oaks and Derby trials and the Musidora and Dante at York next week, O’Brien is eager to see who emerges triumphant.

Minding is currently a short-priced favourite for next month’s Investec Oaks and also heads the Derby market with the likes of Ladbrokes and William Hill, who are offering her at odds of 5-2 with a run.

However, O’Brien is reluctant to rule anything in or out with his star filly at present. He said: “She seems to be fine this morning, she went out for a walk and a pick of grass and seems to be in good form. We were delighted with her. Obviously we were very impressed with her in the Fillies’ Mile last year and we were hoping she could come back to her form.

“You’re never sure, but everything had been going well with her through the winter and the spring and we were hopeful.

“I think she’s very good. Everyone saw she went through the race very snug and when Ryan (Moore) let her down to quicken, she really got down and quickened and finished well. I don’t think she was stopping at the line. You would have to be very impressed and happy with her.

“You would imagine she would have no problem getting a mile and a quarter and usually if they’re good over a mile and quarter, they get a mile and a half, ridden to get it. I suppose you would think and hope that should be within her grasp.

“She’s by Galileo and obviously he puts great stamina into his horses and her dam, Lillie Langtry, got a mile very well and might have even got further, but we didn’t ask her to go any further.

“It’s very much within her range, you would hope.

“The next week or 10 days will tell a lot as there’s a lot of trials, fillies and colts, going to be run so usually what happens is we watch those trials, see what happens and then everybody has a talk about where they’re all going to go next.

“I think everybody is going to learn together where they are all going to slot in.”

Minding was chased home by stablemates Ballydoyle and Alice Springs, and O’Brien thinks there is plenty to look forward to with them as well.

He said: “Very happy with her (Ballydoyle). Seamus (Heffernan) gave her a lovely ride, she settled well and came through very well and didn’t have a hard race.

“Colm (O’Donoghue) did another good job, gave his filly (Alice Springs) a lovely ride and she came home well. Colm thought she would progress again from the run and we were maybe thinking of going to France after, but we will see over the next week.

“Seamus’ filly could come back to the Curragh or do a lot of things. The filly’s dam got a mile and a quarter, so she could even stay further as well.”

Meanwhile O’Brien expects US Army Ranger to learn some valuable lessons when he tackles Thursday’s MBNA Chester Vase on the Roodee.

The Galileo colt is certainly bred to win a Classic as a son of Irish Oaks victor Moonstone and he made quite a splash in the Investec Derby market when winning on his debut at the Curragh last month.

US Army Ranger is due to tackle the Chester feature as part of his preparation and O’Brien believes it will be a steep learning curve for his charge.

He said: “He won a slow-motion race here (at the Curragh) about a month ago, but it’s not going to be slow motion at Chester. He will be very green and will learn a lot from the experience. The timing fits in nicely between his first run and Epsom.”

US Army Ranger is also entered in Saturday’s Betfred Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield along with Beacon Rock, Cook Islands, Idaho, Kellstorm, Landofhopeandglory and Shogun.

However, O’Brien is planning to send Cook Islands and Idaho elsewhere. Outlining running plans, said: “Cook Islands is likely to go for the race on Friday (Betdaq Dee Stakes at Chester) and I’ll try to find something for Lingfield.

“I’ve a few in at Leopardstown (Derrinstown Derby Trial) but Idaho is the most likely to run there.”

O’Brien is also eyeing further Classic glory with the French Guineas on May 15 under the microscope. He added: “The Gurkha could be going to France (for the 2000 Guineas) and Alice Springs might go for the fillies’ race.”

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