Top Australian colt to join Aidan O’Brien’s team

Star Australian colt Vancouver will join Aidan O’Brien’s team ahead of a likely appearance at Royal Ascot.

Last season’s champion two-year-old won three races last year, when trained by Gai Waterhouse, with Coolmore having purchased controlling interest in him after his impressive victory in the Group One Golden Slipper at Rosehill in March.

The son of Medaglia D’Oro is now set to enter quarantine ahead of his transfer to Ireland.

Coolmore’s Tom Magnier said in a statement: “Circumstances have forced our hand with Vancouver to an extent, but Gai is adamant that he’s a Royal Ascot horse and that’s where we’ll be aiming him.

“I’ve spoken to Aidan and Joseph (O’Brien) and they can’t wait for the horse to arrive.

“Gai and her team have done a wonderful job with him, as evidenced by his unforgettable two-year-old season, and let’s hope he does them proud on his travels.”

Waterhouse added on “He’s an incredibly talented horse and, with the autumn falling so early this year and Royal Ascot an important goal in June, we decided in consultation with managing owner Coolmore that it would be best to send him to Ireland to give Aidan O’Brien the necessary time to prepare.

“As an unbeaten champion two-year-old and winner of the Golden Slipper, he has nothing more to prove in Australia.

“I have no doubt that he is world class and this plan gives him the best opportunity of proving himself on the international stage, with a view to possible dual-hemisphere stud duties.”

Meanwhile Hugo Palmer hopes dual Group One-winning filly Covert Love can mix it with the best colts in the business this season and transform herself into a genuine Arc contender.

The four-year-old was one of the biggest success stories of last year after landing both the Irish Oaks and Prix de l’Opera, having only shed her maiden tag at Chelmsford in May.

With another winter on her back, the Newmarket handler feels the daughter of Azamour is now capable of going on to even bigger and better things, not just against her own sex.

He said: “I don’t want to tempt fate with her (Covert Love), but she looks like a totally different filly from last year. She has done better than any other horse I’ve seen over the winter.

“The big thing is she is rated 116 and with the allowances she would get, she would only have to find around a length with Jack Hobbs and the way she looks, you certainly wouldn’t bet against her finding it.

“It’s exciting when you get a filly like this. They can either just be a filly competitive at taking on the fillies or one capable of taking on the colts, like Ouija Board. We are hoping she is a Ouija Board type.”


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