O’Brien bids to master Trophy rivals

AIDAN O’BRIEN believes Masterofthehorse is in the form of his life as he bids to give the Ballydoyle maestro yet another Group One success in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster today.

The Sadler’s Wells colt, a full-brother to 2006 Oaks heroine Alexandrova, chased home the smart Gan Amhras on his debut and confirmed that promise when bolting up at Gowran Park next time.

He was beaten just half a length into third in the Group Two Beresford Stakes at the Curragh last time and O’Brien, who also saddles Indian Ocean and Set Sail, thinks he has improved significantly since.

“Masterofthehorse is very well. We didn’t really get serious with him until after the last day. His work has been more serious now and we’ve been very pleased with him,” said O’Brien.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see what’s going to happen but looking at him at home, he definitely has stepped forward.”

Indian Ocean was last seen finishing fourth in the Group One National Stakes and O’Brien believes he is capable of even better on a faster surface.

“Indian Ocean, we always thought was a nice horse,” the trainer continued.

“He ran a nice race in the National but I think the ground was too heavy for him. He’s a nice mover and we think he will get a mile well and he definitely will be a classy horse next year.

“Set Sail is a solid horse. We ran him in the Vintage Stakes, maybe when he wasn’t 100% ready, but he’s improved a bit.”

Meanwhile, O’Brien is hoping Yeats can put his poor record in France behind him when he lines up in the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp tomorrow.

The seven-year-old made history back in June when winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for the third time, marking him down as one of the best stayers of all time.

However, he has twice been a beaten odds-on favourite at Longchamp, most recently finishing fifth in the Prix du Cadran, and O’Brien is keeping his fingers crossed he can make it third time lucky at the weekend.

“Yeats is in good form but it’s just that maybe the season has been long. We don’t know, but he seems to be in good form at home,” said the trainer.

“People say that he might not handle Longchamp but Johnny (Murtagh) felt he didn’t make enough use of him the last day. Johnny felt that, I’m not saying that’s right, but he wanted him to run here.”

O’Brien also saddles likely pacemaker Mikhail Fokine and Irish Oaks heroine Moonstone. The latter is tackling this trip for the first time, but O’Brien is confident stamina will not be an issue.

“The filly, you’d imagine looking at her that she might get a mile and six (furlongs) so it will be interesting.”


Last week, I wrote about 'small is beautiful' as a key to an improved environment for all living things after this Covid crisis is finally over. As I wrote, I saw, in the mind's eye, the village where I live in west Cork and from which my wife and I are temporarily exiled.Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Fifty years ago, a fox was spotted in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. The unfortunate animal was chased by local ‘gurriers’. It took refuge in a tree but was promptly stoned to death.Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

The north pier on Cape Clear has been eerily quiet these last few months as no visitors disembark. The ferry is not unloading boatloads of tourists from Baltimore, 45 minutes away, or from Schull, as it would normally.The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the scorching summer of 2018 and the 2010 freeze-up, says we’ll have a ‘lovely’ summer.Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

More From The Irish Examiner