Breeders' Cup - At The Races

Aidan O'Brien Stable Tour

    The Master of Ballydoyle ranks third on the all-time list of Breeders’ Cup wins with 12 and sends another powerful battalion to Churchill Downs in 2018.
  • Stable Tours

Aidan O’Brien is simply a phenomenon in the world of racing.

A record-breaking National Hunt trainer in the initial stages of his career, his abundant talents didn’t go unnoticed and he was appointed as the trainer in the historic Ballydoyle complex in 1996 at the age of just 26.

He quickly established himself as a dominant force in Irish racing and since then has broken every record worth breaking and won every race worth winning in Europe and beyond.

Last year, he broke the world record for the number of Group/Grade 1 winners trained in a calendar year by enjoying 28 such victories and he recently broke the record of 139 winners in an Irish Flat season.

O’Brien ranks third on the all-time list of Breeders’ Cup wins with 12 and this week will see him bring over one of his strongest-ever raiding parties.

He was good enough to talk to attheraces.com’s Kevin Blake to discuss their prospects at Churchill Downs. 

All Horses

Anthony Van Dyck (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 119, he won the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh prior to finishing in the frame in the National Stakes at the Curragh and in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

Trainer Says:

He runs in the Juvenile Turf and is in good form. He came out of the Dewhurst very well, which is why we brought him here. We were happy with his run in the Dewhurst, but we know he’s a horse that will stay further and coming back up to a mile here will be no problem. He has won when there was an ease in the ground before, but I don’t think he needs or wants it, so the weather forecast is a concern.

Video Form
27 Jul 2019:
11 May 2019:
2 Nov 2018:
16 Sep 2018:
26 Aug 2018:

Athena (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 113, her best performance of the season came when she won the Belmont Oaks in July.

Trainer Says:

She will run in the Filly & Mare Turf. She is another one that wouldn’t want the ground to get too soft, but she is in very good form. She has progressed as the year has gone on and her last two runs have been good. She has been doing most of her racing around 10 furlongs and this trip should be fine for her.

Video Form
3 Nov 2018:
7 Oct 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
7 Jul 2018:
1 Jul 2018:

Gustav Klimt (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 116, he won the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket as a juvenile and has run well in Group 3 company without winning all season.

Trainer Says:

He is declared for the Mile. He ran very well over six furlongs in the Haydock Sprint Cup and we were very happy with his run back up at seven furlongs in France last time. Ryan was particularly happy with him in France. The plan was always to edge him back up to a mile and this test should suit him. The rain isn’t as big a concern for him as most of the others, as he has plenty of form on soft ground.

Video Form
3 Nov 2018:
7 Oct 2018:
19 Jun 2018:
26 May 2018:
14 Apr 2018:

Happily (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 113, she won four of her seven starts as a juvenile including the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly. She has run very well without winning in Group 1 company this season.

Trainer Says:

She’s in good form and goes for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. It was a real pity what happened her in the stalls at Ascot last time. The horse beside her started playing up and she panicked and lashed out. They took her out and didn’t give her another chance to go back in, which was unfortunate as I don’t think it was fault and she was perfectly fine. She has a good draw and has plenty of form with ease in the ground, so she should be fine whatever the weather does. We had been very happy with her going into Ascot and while we obviously haven’t done a lot with her since, she seems in good shape.

Video Form
3 Nov 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
27 May 2018:
3 Nov 2017:
10 Sep 2017:

Hunting Horn

Form Profile:

Rated 114, he won the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot and has acquitted himself well without winning since then.

Trainer Says:

He runs in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. He ran a bit below himself in the Arc last time, but there is a chance he is a little bit better going left-handed. We always thought that he is fine with an ease in the ground and he has some form on it earlier in his career.

Video Form
27 Jul 2019:
19 Jun 2019:
11 May 2019:
30 Mar 2019:
26 Jan 2019:

I Can Fly

Form Profile:

Rated 116, she won the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend and finished a neck second to Roaring Lion in the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot on British Champions Day.

Trainer Says:

She runs in the Mile. She ran a brilliant race at Ascot last time. We thought it was a great effort from a three-year-old filly and Donnacha was delighted with her. She has form with ease in the ground and seems versatile that way. We haven’t done much with her since Ascot, but she seems in good form. All we can hope is that she can reproduce that Ascot run and that should nearly be enough to get her involved.

Video Form
18 Aug 2019:
19 Jun 2019:
30 Mar 2019:
3 Nov 2018:
15 Sep 2018:

Just Wonderful (USA)

  • 3-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: Dansili - Wading (Montjeu)
  • Trained by: A P O'Brien
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 14 Sep 2019 17:25
  • Result: 3/7, waited with behind leaders, closed travelling smoothly straight, pushed along from 1 1/2f out and headway, kept on well closing stages, just failed for 2nd
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 107, she has won three of her six starts, most notably the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket on her latest start.

Trainer Says:

She’s in good form and has got a good draw in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf. Hopefully the ground won’t get too soft for her. I thought she won very nicely at Newmarket and she has been very well since then. Going back up to a mile shouldn’t be a problem for her. She likes to be delivered late, as she tends to wait for the others when she hits the front.

Video Form
6 Jul 2019:
21 Jun 2019:
2 Nov 2018:
16 Sep 2018:
1 Sep 2018:

Lost Treasure (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 112, he has won three of his eight starts, but has become infamous for abruptly pulling himself up when he hits the front in his races, most notably when throwing away what looked certain victory in a Listed race at Navan in October.

Trainer Says:

He has been declared for the Turf Sprint. He’s a horse with an awful lot of ability, but he’s a tricky ride as he stops when he hits the front. He has a lot of speed and is one that won’t appreciate any rain that falls, as he wants fast ground. He’ll be ridden for luck and if it happens for him, he’ll ideally be arriving there as late as possible.

Video Form
30 Mar 2019:
3 Nov 2018:
19 Oct 2018:
14 Oct 2018:
7 Oct 2018:

Magic Wand (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 113, she won the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot and has finished second in Group 1 company in her last two starts.

Trainer Says:

She runs in the Filly & Mare Turf. Her last two runs have been very good and this trip should suit her. She wouldn’t want the ground to get too soft and her draw isn’t ideal. That said, she’s a big filly and I think she is still improving.

Video Form
27 Jul 2019:
18 Jun 2019:
11 May 2019:
30 Mar 2019:
26 Jan 2019:

Magical (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 115, she showed herself to be better than ever by winning the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day.

Trainer Says:

She runs in the Turf and we are very happy with her. We had been looking forward to seeing her over a mile-and-a-half much earlier in the season than we did, but she picked up a setback prior to the Oaks that held up her season. We were delighted with her at Ascot last time and she probably showed that day that she is a better filly over that sort of trip. Any ease in the ground will be no problem for her.

Video Form
19 Jun 2019:
3 Nov 2018:
7 Oct 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
22 Jul 2018:

Mendelssohn

Form Profile:

Rated 120, he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last season and has progressed into a high-class performer on dirt this season, winning the UAE Derby at Meydan by 18½ lengths and finishing in the frame in Grade 1 company in America in his last two starts.

Trainer Says:

We have been very happy with him since his last run and he goes for the Classic. We have given him a very different preparation for the race than we have our previous runners in it and he has come through all the stages of it very well. He has obviously been doing a lot of travelling all year, but he seems to be doing well on that routine. He has been learning with every run and now is his time to put it all to use. He has been breaking well and is happy to go forward, so that’s what we’ll probably do from his draw. It’s a very competitive race and we are hoping he’ll run well.

Video Form
1 Dec 2018:
3 Nov 2018:
29 Sep 2018:
25 Aug 2018:
7 Jul 2018:

Sergei Prokofiev (CAN)

Form Profile:

Rated 110, he has won three of his seven starts and bounced back to top form when winning the Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket last time.

Trainer Says:

He runs in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. Donnacha gave him a beautiful ride at Newmarket last time. He put him to sleep and that isn’t an easy thing to do over five furlongs, especially at Newmarket where they have a downhill section to negotiate. The horse had to have a lot of speed to do what he did there and it was hard not to be impressed with him. He is more of a five-furlong horse than a six-furlong horse. They just can’t go fast enough in front of him, as he finds it very easy to run fast. The faster the ground, the better it will suit him.

Video Form
18 Jun 2019:
2 Nov 2018:
12 Aug 2018:
19 Jun 2018:
20 May 2018:

So Perfect (USA)

Form Profile:

Rated 107, she won the Grangecon Stud Stakes at the Curragh in July and has gone on to finish in the frame in Group 1 company in her last two starts.

Trainer Says:

She is declared for the Juvenile Turf Sprint. We were considering running her in the fillies’ race over a mile as we’d have liked to get an idea of how far she might stay next year, but the weather forecast made us change our minds. She’s a big, powerful filly with plenty of speed. We think she might handle any ease in the ground, so it’ll be interesting to see how she goes on it. We’ve been very happy with her since her last run.

Video Form
4 Aug 2019:
22 Jun 2019:
2 Nov 2018:
12 Aug 2018:
1 Jul 2018: