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River Tiber out to extend O’Brien dominance in Juvenile Turf

3 minute read

Aidan O’Brien is the undisputed king of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with a record five victories and the Ballydoyle-based trainer will be attempting to extend his winning streak with River Tiber at Santa Anita on Friday.

RIVER TIBER. Picture: Pat Healy Photography

River Tiber heads a three-strong team from the stable and will be looking to return to the winners' enclosure following two defeats behind Vandeek in Group 1 company. Victorious in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, the son of Wootton Bassett will be stepping up to a mile for the first time.

The colt is joined by stablemates Unquestionable and Mountain Bear, with jockey Ryan Moore choosing to retain his partnership with the Royal Ascot winner.

"We always thought River Tiber was a really good horse," said Aidan O'Brien.

"His last two runs have been a little bit below par. In France he had a break before and we perhaps didn't quite have him at his best and the last day we felt we didn't have him at his best either.

"We think he has come right since Newmarket and I think he is rated 3lb below the other horse [Unquestionable] but he has always been a very classy horse and we think he is better now than he was for his last two runs. All the ducks weren't in a row the last time.

Speaking during Breakfast at the Breeders' Cup on Thursday, he added: "We always thought he would love stepping up to seven, so if we thought he would get seven at home, he should get a mile around here. He has a nice draw and a flat track and we're looking forward to seeing what he does."

Frankie Dettori has picked up the spare ride on Unquestionable, who produced a good second to the impressive Rosallion in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp over 'Arc' weekend.

"Ryan was delighted with him in France and said the split just came a little bit too early for him and he had to go early," added O'Brien.

"Obviously when the split came he had to go and he would have just preferred to wait a little bit longer. He ran a very good race.

"We always felt a mile would be well within his compass and he's in very good form and has a nice draw as well."

The O'Brien runners will face some fair opposition from the home defence, including Michael McCarthy's Endlessly, who boasts experience over course and distance.

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