Aidan O’Brien, the master of Ballydoyle, has trained 76 Royal Ascot winners and sends another strong squad in 2022, all live on Sky Sports Racing from Tuesday June 14.
Royal Ascot has always been a focus point for Aidan O’Brien, and it is a meeting where he has enjoyed a great amount of success.
Indeed, the master of Ballydoyle is rapidly closing in on Sir Michael Stoute’s record as the most successful trainer in the long history of the prestigious event. Stoute’s tally stands at 82 and O’Brien currently has 76 victories to his name.
Aidan spoke to Kevin Blake for At The Races to discuss the team that will bid to add to his Royal Ascot tally in 2022…
(Hardwicke / Prince of Wales’s)
He’ll more than likely run in the Hardwicke Stakes on the Saturday. He got kicked after his final run in Japan last year and missed a fair bit of time as a result. We felt he was only just about ready to start back in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time. In the circumstances, we were happy with his run and I think he’ll improve plenty from that. Getting him back up to a mile-and-a-half will suit and I’m hopeful that he’ll run well.
(Copper Horse Handicap)
He has seemed in great form since Chester and we’re looking forward to seeing him out again, as he’s a horse we’ve always liked. We weren’t sure about him getting the trip going to Chester and he travelled well around there, so I don’t think he’ll have any trouble coming back down in trip at Royal Ascot.
We’ve been delighted with him this year, as he’s shown the improvement on the track that we had always hoped he had in him. The trip is an unknown, but he’s bred to stay very well and he’s relaxed, so we think he’ll get it. He has class and will handle fast ground just fine. We’ve been very happy with him.
(Duke of Cambridge)
She ran below form in the Lockinge, but the thing with her is that getting lots of cover in her races is very important and she didn’t get any in the Lockinge. We’ve seen it before with her that if she isn’t able to get cover because of the way the race pans out, she tends to struggle. Hopefully, the draw will be kind and allows her to easily find the cover she needs.
He ran very well in his first try at two miles in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in April and I’d be hopeful that he’ll stay the longer trip next week. He looks to be a good candidate for that race and it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
(St James’s Palace / Hampton Court)
He had a setback earlier this year that slowed us down with him, but he’s ready to run now. We are possibly leaning towards the Hampton Court at the minute. We’ll make a decision later in the week and we’re looking forward to getting him started back.
The 1000 Guineas just didn’t go to plan for her and we felt she should be given another chance at a mile. She had a small hold-up after Newmarket with a stone bruise, but she seems in great shape and we’re looking forward to seeing her out again as she’s always been an exciting filly.
Age Of Kings
He learned a lot from his first run and we were delighted with his winning performance at the Curragh. At this stage, he’s a possible for the Coventry Stakes. If we decided not to go there, he’d be one for the Railway Stakes at the Curragh later in the month.
He was working very nicely before he ran despite not being asked to do much and he came to hand very quickly. He’s one we are really looking forward to.
He has won his first three starts and looks a promising colt. We were happy with his first run, a bit disappointed with his second, and we thought he put it all together when he stepped up to six furlongs in the Marble Hill. He is in the picture for the Coventry Stakes. If he didn’t go there, the Railway Stakes at the Curragh at the end of the month would be his alternative option, but I’d say the Coventry is looking more likely as we stand. He is a horse that quickens really well and that will always be an asset.
Little Big Bear
(Coventry / Windsor Castle)
At the minute, the Windsor Castle seems more likely if Blackbeard goes for the Coventry. We were a bit disappointed to see him beaten the first day, but we were delighted with his performance at Naas on his second start. We’ve always really liked him and his form looks strong. He isn’t short of pace and five furlongs is fine for him.
We were very happy with her last run and she seems to be improving all the time. She’s one that will get further in trip as the year goes on.
She’s been in good form since her winning debut. She’s in the Albany Stakes, but she’s a big filly and we are conscious of not rushing her. We won’t make a decision on her participation until late. If she didn’t go there, the Balanchine Stakes at the Curragh on Irish Derby weekend would be an obvious alternative for her.
We’ve been delighted with him since his last run and he’s been doing everything right since then. We have been conscious to keep a lid on him, as he’s a very fast horse and we didn’t want him to realise it too early. We’ve been happy not to ask him to do anything beyond the minimum required to win in his two starts to date and I think there will be a lot more there when he needs to show it.
Watch every race from Royal Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing from Tuesday June 14 to Saturday June 18