Blackbeard plunders Middle Park at Newmarket

Aidan O'Brien has now won the Group 1 contest a record seven times
Blackbeard plunders Middle Park at Newmarket

TOP PROSPECT: Blackbeard surges to victory in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes. Picture: David Davies/PA 

Blackbeard led home a Ballydoyle one-two in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket as Aidan O'Brien recorded a record seventh victory in the Group 1 contest.

It was the winner's second successive Group 1 win and third-straight win at Pattern level as he followed up back-to-back French triumphs in the Prix Robert Papin and Prix Morny.

One of Blackbeard's regular rivals Persian Force was the early pace-setter, with Ryan Moore content to track the July Stakes scorer and market leader Marshman, who was far too keen in the hands of Clifford Lee and pulled his way to the front.

As Persian Force's stride began to shorten and Marshman started to wilt, Moore made his move and put the race to bed in a matter of strides as Blackbeard hit top gear inside the final furlong.

Having missed the break, stablemate The Antarctic kept on well for second, with the game Persian Force once again taking a spot on the podium in third.

O'Brien said of the winner: "He's a character, but there's no badness whatsoever in him, he just likes to get on with stuff.

"He's very genuine and like everybody, he's just not keen on waiting and likes to get on with it. If you start curtailing him he'll slam his foot into the ground and start goose stepping, which is unusual for a colt but he's always done it. He can do whatever he wants, really!

"I'm not sure if he'll run again this season, he's very valuable to us. He's so precocious, fast, and strong and he has been very busy. I'll see what everybody wants to do."

Paddy Power cut Blackbeard to 10-1 from 20-1 for the 2000 Guineas, but O'Brien views him as more of a sprinter. Coral make him a 6-1 co-favourite for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot along with stablemate Little Big Bear and Roger Varian's Sakheer.

"I think he's all about speed rather than a Guineas horse. He got to the front today wasn't doing a whole lot," O'Brien added.

"He's very straightforward really, he just doesn't like waiting. It's his way of saying 'I'm ready, come on, let me get on with it.'

"I think that was Blackbeard's best performance and The Antarctic has been improving with every run, too.

"That was Blackbeard's seventh run and he's been on the go a long time, so I'm not sure if he'll run again. Next year he looks a sprinter — he's very quick and can quicken."

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