Breeders’ Cup Euro Report: O’Brien Caravan Hits The Track At Churchill Downs

by | 11.01.2018 | 2:59pm
The Aidan O'Brien train takes over the track at Churchill Downs.

Once again Roaring Lion (Breeders' Cup Classic) was the first European horse out on to the main track this morning. Race rider and regular pilot Oisin Murphy was in the saddle and he took the son of Kitten's Joy down to the chute where they stayed for the duration of their light exercise that consisted of just trotting, before returning to the barn.

Murphy said: “I'm very happy with Roaring Lion, he moved great, he just did a little trot today and did no serious work. He will have a canter tomorrow and then will obviously race on Saturday, but we are very pleased.”

Lightning Spear (Mile) and Marie's Diamond (Juvenile Turf) both went out at the same time and cantered a circuit of the track. Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his father Mark Johnston, who saw Marie's Diamond out on the dirt for the first time was happy with the son of Footstepsinthesand.

“He's handled the trip over well and we are expecting him to improve for stepping up in distance but the ground is certainly a concern. He won his first start on heavy ground but all his best stakes race form is on fast ground.”

Robert Cowell, who arrived in Louisville last night, was on hand to watch Pocket Dynamo (Juvenile Turf Sprint) stretch his legs on the sloppy track and was happy with what he saw. “He is beginning to let his back down. He is a real goer and all he wants to do is get on with the job. He will be fine on race day.” said Cowell.

Aidan O'Brien's string of 16 horses was next out on the dirt with their Breeders' Cup Classic hope Mendelssohn, with Aidan's son Donnacha in the saddle, the first to go out with his traveling companion Seahenge. It was quite a sight to see all of the Ballydoyle horses go out together. They walked for a circuit and a half of the track before jogging back round to the gap and headed back to the barn.

Mendelssohn leads the Aidan O'Brien caravan on the track at Churchill Downs

Aidan O'Brien was out on the track on his pony and on returning back to the quarantine barn said “I am happy with them all. They have been in the barn for two days so it was nice to get them out. Hopefully the rain will stop and the ground will dry out. This track dries out quickly here at Churchill Downs.”

There was a change of plan for Charlie Appleby's trio of horses. Line of Duty (Juvenile Turf), La Pelosa (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Wild Illusion (Filly & Mare Turf). They had been scheduled to go out on to the turf but with the persistent rain falling on Churchill Downs, Appleby decided to let them all have a steady canter on the dirt instead.

Talismanic and Waldgeist (Turf) followed the same routine as they have all week and went for a walk and then a jog followed by a gentle canter.

Dermot Weld was also at Churchill Downs to see Eziyra (Filly and Mare Turf) go two laps of the dirt at a steady canter. “This is my first time to Churchill Downs and we don't have a great draw in 14.” said Weld.

Polydream (Mile), who is hoping to give Freddy Head another Breeders' Cup victory to his name, did a steady canter on the turf and the French trainer was trackside to see the daughter of Oasis Dream. “I am delighted with her progress. She traveled over great and since she has been here everything has gone well and I am looking forward to running her on Saturday.”

Lily's Candle (Juvenile Fillies Turf) appears to be settling in better every day and when she went out on to the rain softened turf with her pony she looked much happier and did a steady canter.

Soldier's Call (Juvenile Turf Sprint) stretched his legs out on the Turf and Archie Watson, who delayed his flight out to Kentucky by a day to attend an appeal in France, in which he was successful, was on hand to see the son of Showcasing. Oisin Murphy who will take the ride tomorrow said: “Soldier's Call had a canter on the turf, he's flying and I am very happy with my drawn (two) and can't wait for the race. He is in good order.”

East (Juvenile Fillies Turf) also cantered around the turf track with regular work rider, Harriett Lees on board. Adam Ryan, assistant to his father Kevin was trackside and was happy with her well-being: “She has traveled over fine and settled in well over here. Harriett has been very happy with her and looks to have taken it all in her stride. We have a tricky draw in 14 and we wouldn't want too much more rain but we are looking forward to the race.”

Enable (Turf) with Frankie Dettori once again in the saddle, did a steady canter on the Turf and all appeared to go to plan. Dettori was happy with her progress.

Queen of Bermuda (Juvenile Turf Sprint) and One Master (Mile) once again did a circuit and a half of the turf before heading back to the barn and Sir Michael Stoute's pairing of Mustashry and Expert Eye, who both contest the Breeders' Cup Mile, also went for a gentle canter on the Turf.

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