O'Brien Sends Strong Champions Day Team To Ascot

Aidan O'Brien

Leading Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien is set to send a strong team over to Ascot on Saturday explaining that the horses that were set to race at Longchamp but were withdrawn will now take their chance at the weekend.

The big race at Ascot is the British Champion Stakes that was last year taken by the trainer with his seven time Group One winner Magical and he has a three pronged attack this term.

Having landed the Group One eight times in his career, O'Brien always sends a decent team of runners into the event and this season is no different, with last year's winner looking to bag consecutive British Champion Stakes.

Alongside Magical, O'Brien is set to field other big names that may not have previously shown up due to he well-documented problem surrounding contaminated feed which prompted O’Brien to withdraw all his runners on Arc day in Paris.

O'Brien has explained that the Paris tracks loss looks set to be Ascot’s gain as horses that would have ran in the Arc would have not turned up in England this weekend.

(Credit ATR) The trainer said: “We had to think hard about what we did with the horses that were due to go to France as for a long time their preparation had been geared around Arc weekend and when you carry on for another two weeks it’s not always ideal.

“It can be tricky to keep the momentum going. We were looking forward to Arc weekend and the horses were training really well for it for a long time, but that’s the way it was and the way it was meant to be and we just accepted it and moved on.

“Next year will be another year. We changed the route with them and we’ll see what will happen, but they seem to be in good form.”

The horses that will join magical look to be Juddmonte International winner Japan and Epsom Derby winner Serpentine, who were both set to run big races in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Another runner that O'Brien could have fielded was Mogul, who was deemed his best chance in the Arc a few weeks back and although not turning up there he will also not be on show at Ascot.

O’Brien said: “Japan is a strong possible and this has been the target for Magical since Leopardstown. Mogul is not a definite because he could go straight to the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“The lads have to decide what they want to do with Serpentine. We were really looking forward to the Arc with him and his prep for that was very good – we felt he had moved up plenty from his prep run and done very well physically.

“He has to run somewhere shortly, either that or we have to back off him altogether. The options for him after Saturday are the Breeders’ Cup, the Japan Cup and the races in Hong Kong.

“We’re very happy with him at home at the moment and if he runs on Saturday it will be interesting.”