Writing off horses trained by Aidan O’Brien is a dangerous course to take, as Ten Sovereigns highlighted in emphatic fashion when giving the trainer a record-equalling fifth Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.
Like his stablemate Circus Maximus, who left his below-par effort in the Derby behind when dropped back to a mile in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, the son of No Nay Never reminded everyone what a talent he is with victory in the six-furlong Group 1 feature.
Signs of a return to form for Ten Sovereigns, who saw his reputation tarnished with defeats in the 2000 Guineas and Commonwealth Cup, may not have been clear to most, but O’Brien knew something special was brewing from what he had witnessed at home.
The trainer said: “We knew the horse that beat us at Ascot (Advertise) was a good horse, but his work was good and he had matured.
"He was pulling up after all of his work with a big smile on his face.
“In his expression there was no sign of stress, it was all very happy and he was really smiling after every bit of work and when your horse gets there, you know they are in a good place.
“He is like all those good athletes — he goes a very high pace very easily. He is cruising along in first gear and when you ask him, he quickens.
"He is only a three-year-old, (and) he is showing us now what he was showing us last year.”
It may have taken Ten Sovereigns three runs to recapture the level of form that saw him go from maiden winner to Group 1 scorer in just over a month last year, but it was a victory that was not lost on the master of Ballydoyle.
He added: “It was vital for this horse as he is by No Nay Never. We saw today what he did last year and he is a big, beautiful horse with a beautiful mind.
“It was very exciting and it was very important for everyone involved. We were happy with his run at Ascot, even though he didn’t win.”
Winning jockey Ryan Moore said: “He ran very well in the Guineas. He was trained for a Guineas and he was a bit rusty at Ascot, but Aidan was very confident so that gave me confidence really.
“I was delighted with what he did today. He quickened really well. He showed a really good turn of foot.
"He looked by far the best horse, which is exciting. He sustained that gallop all the way and they weren’t closing him down at all at the line and he has run right through it.”
Those wishing to topple Ten Sovereigns on his next start will need to raise their game according to Moore.
He added: “They are different type of horses. Last year’s winner was a very hard, tough horse. This lad has had a little bit less racing.
“Ten Sovereigns is a big, scopey horse, so hopefully he will continue his progression and you will see more of it on the track.”