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Henry Longfellow remains on course for St James's Palace Stakes after French 2000 Guineas defeat

3 minute read

Aidan O'Brien has revealed Henry Longfellow remains on track for the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot after finishing well-beaten in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp on Sunday.

HENRY LONGFELLOW winning the National Stakes at Curragh in Kildare, Ireland.
HENRY LONGFELLOW winning the National Stakes at Curragh in Kildare, Ireland. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The beautifully-bred son of Dubawi, who is out of multiple Group 1 heroine Minding, rounded off his juvenile campaign with a striking success in the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes at the Curragh in September.

With stablemate City Of Troy flying the flag for team Ballydoyle in the English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, Henry Longfellow found himself on French soil for his three-year-old reappearance and he was sent off the 13/10 favourite to keep his unbeaten record intact under Ryan Moore.

However, the tempo looked moderate from the get-go and with Henry Longfellow positioned towards the rear of midfield, he was never able to get involved in the opening French Classic of the season.

"That was a tactical error on my behalf," admitted O'Brien. "I said to Ryan to take his time on him because it was his first run, and he hadn't been away, and he'd never been on that type of track.

"Ryan took his time but then found himself in a way that he couldn't get out and to get out he had to keep coming back to get out but as he kept coming back, they kept going by him and by him and by him and the next thing he ended up too far back off a slowly run race."

O'Brien was keen to put a line through the contest, with the Ballydoyle-based handler quick to suggest that a trip to Royal Ascot for the St James's Palace is still very much on the cards.

"He's come in like he didn't have any kind of race … he was very happy in himself, so we just put that down to a lovely experience, he went right-handed and I'd say he felt it was only a piece of work.

"The plan with him was, if everything went well, was to go to the St James's Palace so we're going to stick to that plan. I'll probably have more confidence in him the next day to tell Ryan to go forward with him in the St James's Palace."

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