Aidan O Brien’s Top 3 Year-olds For 2020 Flat Season

The Master Of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, has his ducks all lined up in a row in preparation fo the forthcoming flat season which I’m afraid does not appear to be happening for the immediate future. So you can imagine he will still be keeping his 100 and odd 3-year olds on their toes and at the peak of fitness ready for the time when they are expected to take centre stage.

Among his previous stars who are staying in training are 5-year-olds; Kew Gardens, Magical and Magic Wand. His 4-year-olds are Anthony Van Dyck, Circus Maximus, Sovreign and Japan, when you consider that these in this list are already Group 1 winners it just shows the wealth of talent he has at his disposal.

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But I want to concentrate on the younger generation who should now be looking forward to the 1000 and 2000Gns, Oaks and Derby but unfortunately will have to wait until later in the season before, hopefully, their chance to shine will come. So with the future in mind I have picked out 10 of his 3-year-old stars who look the most promising for the forthcoming campaign and here is a short write up on each.

LOVE

This chestnut Galileo filly is the current female star under O’Brien’s stewardship. She has raced seven times as a juvenile winning three of those contests including a Group 1 at the Curragh, the Moyglare Stud Stakes. She beat the highly fancied Daayeh that day but then could finish only third in the Bet365 Fillies Mile at Newmarket in October. She may well have been over the top that day plus the going was on the soft side of good and she is definitely a top of the ground specialist who should have no trouble moving up in distance to 10 or 12 furlongs.

ARIZONA

A dark brown colt sired by No Nay Never, an American bred horse. He was a dual winner in May/June on firm going over 6f at the Curragh and Ascot. He ran an excellent second in the Dewhurst at Newmarket in October on soft going beating a couple of O’Brien’s more fancied opponents. That run earned him his place in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita in November where he went off as favourite. He was beaten a length and a half into 5th over a distance he had never tried before but should come back stronger after the winter.

ROYAL DORNOCH

This Gleneagles colt started his racing career in June but it wasn’t until September and five runs before he got the hang of things and broke his duck in a maiden at Gowran Park. He then ran a shocker finishing last of five beaten almost 5 lengths in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September so hopes weren’t high when he went to Newmarket a fortnight later for the Royal Lodge Stakes. He went off the 16/1 outsider of the seven runners for the 1m contest but got home by a neck breaking the juvenile course record in the process. After the race O’Brien said he always felt there was more to come from him and jockey Wayne Lorcan was very happy with him stating he wanted a mile, he can go on from that victory.

LOPE Y FERNANDEZ

This Lope De Vega colt won easily on his racecourse debut in June last year at the Curragh but came up against Pinatubo on his second run in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. He did finish a clear runner up that day so was tried against the same rival in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, this time he was a well beaten third so he was dropped back in trip and it was back to the Curragh for a Group 3 contest. Once again he showed his class by clearly beating the 11 other runners in the field so was then sent to Newmarket for the Middle Park Stakes again over 6f but he appeared over the top and finished down the field. Look out for him in race up to a mile this year.

WICHITA

This late-flowering No Nay Never colt was not seen on a racecourse until the end of August when he came to the Curragh and won at the first time of asking. He beat 17 rivals that day and was considered good enough to enter the Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster where he just went down by half a length. But a fortnight later he went to Newmarket and won the Tattersalls Stakes by 7 lengths and that form was considered good enough for him to be supplemented for the Dewhurst at the same course. Unfortunately, he was unable to quicken over the final furlong and finished third, l would think O’Brien will race him at up to a mile.

MOGUL

First seen at Gowran Park in August when he ran second this Galileo colt was highly fancied for the Derby after winning his next two races. Those were at the Curragh and Leopardstown respectively and guaranteed him his place in the Futurity Stakes at Doncaster. Unfortunately with the abandonment of that meeting the race was run on the all-weather surface at Newcastle at the beginning of November and on a slow surface that didn’t suit he finished fourth almost four lengths behind the winner. I feel we have yet to see the best of Mogul and would expect him to step up in distance during the coming year.

PASSION

This lightly raced Galileo filly first saw a racecourse at Cork in August last year. She ran very green that day but did run on well in the final furlong to finish fifth. She had more idea next time out at the same course in September coming home comfortably by over two lengths in a field of twelve. That run entitled her to an entry in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster later that month but she didn’t get a clear run that day and finished 7th beaten 6 1/2 lengths. All her runs have been over a mile and I fully expect her to get further as the year progresses.

INNISFREE

Another Galileo colt who had a couple of runs in July firstly at Naas where he ran second after being forced wide. He went from there to win his maiden at Galway where he was headed a furlong out but fought back to get home by a neck, showing great courage. His next outing was in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh at the end of September where he challenged the leader a furlong out and again fought tenaciously to win by a neck once more. He then came across the Irish Sea for the Futurity Stakes which was rearranged to be run at Newcastle’s all-weather course. This surface may have been far from ideal for him but he plugged on well to take second but had no chance with the winner. Expect to see him at distances up to 12 furlongs.

IBERIA

Yet another Galileo colt who got off the mark at the first time of asking in a maiden at the Curragh in July over 7 furlongs. He went back to the same course the following month for the Irish Futurity but after leading going into the final quarter of a mile he was headed and hampered and had to check, he was then eased and finished 7th, 10 lengths behind the winner. He stayed at the Curragh three weeks later for the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes but didn’t get into contention at all and finished fifth. Two weeks after this poor run he was upped in trip at Newmarket for the Royal Lodge Stakes where he was held up and finished well to take third less than 2 lengths behind the winner. He finished his season with a fine second at Leopardstown back at 7f on unsuitably heavy conditions, he can show further improvement at 10 to 12 furlongs this year.

ARTHUR’S KINGDOM

This Camelot sired colt finally got rid of his maiden tag after two unlucky seconds at Leopardstown and and Killarney, firstly when stumbling on the final bend and secondly touched off by a nose, so his victory was due. It came in October at Gowran Park where he drew away in the last 50 yards and won by a length and half. His final race of the year came two weeks later in a Group 1 at Saint-Cloud on heavy going, he raced well to take second in the last half furlong but never got close to the winner. That race was over 10 furlongs and I can see him moving up in distance, he could very possibly be a dark horse for the St Leger.

Find all previous Seymour Biz racing editorials in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips