Leading trainer Joseph O'Brien assembles strong team for Doncaster and Leopardstown

JOSEPH O’Brien is hoping Chrome can earn gold in the St Leger.

The County Kilkenny trainer saddles leading contender Galileo Chrome in today’s Classic at Doncaster.

The colt had his connections purring when he bolted up in the Listed Yeats Stakes at Navan last month.

The team have suffered a late setback, with jockey Shane Crosse forced to miss the ride following a Covid-19 positive.

But Tom Marquand is playing the role of super sub and O’Brien reckons the horse can run a huge race.

He said: “He’s in good shape, he’s not put a foot wrong so far this season.

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“He has been progressive and improved with each run, he won very nicely at Navan last time.

“He is a big tall horse so we are very hopeful that he has a big future and we are excited to run him at Doncaster.

“Everyone wants to compete in the big races, so to have a runner in a Classic with a good chance is what you work hard and do this job for.”

Betfair ambassador O'Brien has also assembled a strong team for Irish Champions Weekend, and today could be Patrick’s day at Leopardstown.


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The progressive Patrick Sarsfield has been a winning machine this year and lines up in the Paddy Power ‘Is It 2021 Yet?’ Stakes.

The horse was a running-on third in a German Group 1 last time out and now steps up to a mile and a half for the first time.

He lines up alongside stablemate Buckhurst today, and his Classic-winning trainer reckons he is one of his best chances of a winner.

O’Brien said: “He has progressed all year long and he ran well in a Group 1 in Germany last time.

“Things didn’t go absolutely perfect for him on the day, but he has been great for the yard this year and we think a lot of him.

“He will have loads of options in the autumn, he has entries in some of the big races in Australia but we aren’t sure about that yet as he will need to go into quarantine next week.

“There’s also places like Hong Kong to consider, so we will see how he gets on this weekend before deciding anything.

“We run Buckhurst in the race too. He gets first time blinkers and should run well, but he has a wide draw which isn’t ideal.”

In the Group 1 Matron Stakes earlier on the card, O’Brien has opted to drop New York Girl back in distance after her disappointing effort in the Irish Oaks.

The yard also run South American recruit Wild Dreams, who was prolific in her native Argentina.

O’Brien said: “I hope the drop back to a mile will help New York Girl. She was a bit disappointing last time in the Irish Oaks, we thought she would run a big race there.

“We’ve always had a high opinion of her and I’ve no doubt she is up to this level, so hopefully she can put things right this weekend.

“We like Wild Dreams. It’s probably a big ask to go straight into a Group 1 like this, but if you’re not in you can’t win.

“Her best form in South America was over six and seven furlongs so going up to a mile is a bit of an unknown, but she has pleased us since she has arrived.”

On Sunday, O’Brien holds the key to the Irish St Leger with runaway Curragh Cup winner Twilight Payment heading the market.

He said: “He has been better than ever this year, his win in the Curragh Cup was a career best.

“It’s obviously going to be a very competitive race on Sunday, but he would have a great chance if he was in that sort of form again and we go there hopeful of a big run.”


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