Great Leighs prep possibility for Duke

Duke Of Marmalade could be a shock competitor at Great Leighs’ trials meeting for the Breeders’ Cup on September 27, trainer Aidan O’Brien revealed today.

Duke Of Marmalade could be a shock competitor at Great Leighs’ trials meeting for the Breeders’ Cup on September 27, trainer Aidan O’Brien revealed today.

The master of Ballydoyle is keen to get another run into his star performer before Santa Anita in October and while not taking him out of the equation for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, he is putting a journey to the new Essex venue under consideration.

Duke Of Marmalade has now won five Group Ones in a row but missed out on a sixth when he was not risked on heavy ground in last weekend’s Irish Champion Stakes.

O’Brien has identified what has been named the Thoroughbred Open Classic, a £40,000 race for all ages where Duke Of Marmalade would carry a small penalty for his victories.

Experience on the all-weather would put the colt into contention for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on a new synthetic surface in California and O’Brien also mentioned Frozen Fire being under consideration for Duke Of Marmalade’s other option, the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“I am not ruling him out of the Arc, but we want to run him at the Breeders’ Cup with possibly another run in between,” said O’Brien.

“There is a possibility he might run at Great Leighs on the evening of the QEII Stakes at Ascot. They have a nine-and-a-half-furlong race there on Polytrack. But that is only a possibility at the moment.”

Of Frozen Fire, only seventh when favourite for Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger, O’Brien continued: “Frozen Fire was keen at Doncaster and the ground was wrong for him. We might look at the Breeders’ Cup Turf with him over a mile and a half on good ground.”

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