Aidan O’Brien believes Scorpion is showing all the right signs ahead of Europe’s bid to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf for the seventh time in eight years.
Although last season’s Arc winner Hurricane Run heads a three-pronged European assault on the £3m Grade One race, the Ballydoyle handler says he is “delighted” with the Classic winner’s preparation.
Speaking via a phone link at a Breeders’ Cup press conference at Epsom on Wednesday, O’Brien said of last season’s lightly-raced St Leger winner: “He was lucky and unlucky in the spring in the respect that he split a pastern behind and we had to stop with him. You don’t know how long those things take to heal, but it healed perfectly and because he was off for a little while, he just took a little bit of time to get back.”
The four-year-old made his belated seasonal reappearance at the Curragh earlier this month when a length second to Frank Sonata in a Listed 12-furlong event and O’Brien says the Montjeu colt has progressed since.
“We barely got him back in time for a run at the Curragh and he ran a lovely race in very bad ground which he would have hated,” he admitted.
“Kieren [Fallon] looked after him and he just got a bit tired in the last 50 yards, but we were delighted with that run. He’s a horse who would love fastish ground and obviously he’s going to improve again, but we are very happy with him and delighted he’ll be running.”
Hurricane Run is a 5-2 favourite with Coral for the Turf, with the Brian Meehan-trained Red Rocks a 6-1 shot. Scorpion is a 7-1 chance with the Barking firm.