O'Brien looking for double strike

Aidan O’Brien declared himself happy with the final blow-outs for both Dylan Thomas and Excellent Art ahead of the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Aidan O’Brien declared himself happy with the final blow-outs for both Dylan Thomas and Excellent Art ahead of the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Dylan Thomas makes his farewell appearance in the Hong Kong Vase as the four-year-old, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, looks to add another Group One victory to the King George, Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe he has already captured this season.

Excellent Art, meanwhile, will attempt to complement victory in the St James Palace Stakes at Ascot in June with another triumph over eight furlongs in the Hong Kong Mile, again under Murtagh.

And O’Brien was confident the Coolmore duo will be in pristine condition come race day despite arduous seasons.

“They seemed to be fine,” he said. “They did their normal routine canters and they seemed to be fine.”

Dylan Thomas is heavily fancied by both punters and international handicappers alike to clinch victory in the 12 furlong showdown but O’Brien sounded a more cautious note with Red Rocks, Quijano and Doctor Dino likely to be in close attendance.

“I think there’s a good few horses there, quality horses,” he added. “I think there’s more than one danger there in those races and you have to respect them all really.

“I don’t know what pace we would want. I think everybody just wants an even pace to give everybody an equal chance. Hopefully it will just be an even pace really.”

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