Four year old Lope Y Fernandez for Aidan O'Brien has been given the target of the Group One Lockinge after his exceptional return to the track on Wednesday at Leopardstown.
The son of Lope De Vega has been a smart horse for the Ballydoyle maestro over the last few years, but the trainer now believes at the age of four we will see the best of him.
Finishing third on seasonal debut over a mile last season in the Irish 2000 Guineas the drop back to six furlongs was needed but he disappointed at Ascot in the Commonwealth Cup.
The colt got back to form when a close second behind Pinatubo in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville and staying on nicely again next time out in the Prix Maurice De Gheest was another sign he is a horse with bundles of ability.
He then went to Haydock in the Sprint Cup and disappointed and again at 6f after that went into the British Champion Sprint Stakes and finished mid-field.
Stepping back up to a mile for his final run of last term the colt finished a superb third on quick ground in the Group One Breeders Cup mile behind his two stablemates Order Of Australia and Circus Maximus.
Back for another season, O'Brien was bullish with how the colt could be this season and he did not disappoint on seasonal debut when landing the Listed Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown by close to six lengths.
(Credit ATR) “Last year we messed around with his trip a good bit,” trainer Aidan O’Brien explained.
“We didn’t learn what it was until the end at the Breeders Cup. He’s a miler and you take your time with him.
“He’s at his best when he’s able to quicken and likes nice ground.
“We’re thinking about going to the Lockinge with him, then possibly the Queen Anne Stakes.”