Gleaneagles delights O’Brien with Ascot romp
Dual Guineas winner Gleneagles had little more than an exercise gallop to win today’s Group One St James’s Palace Stakes.
He won by two and a half lengths and half a length from Latharnach and Consort, although it was disappointing that French Guineas winner Make Believe ran below par and finished last of the five runners. On today’s evidence Gleneagles is the best three-year-old miler in Europe.
The winner was ridden by Ryan Moore, who has become no.1 jockey at the Ballydoyle Stables of trainer Aidan O’Brien, although the former first-choice, O’Brien’s son Joseph, remains a key player in Gleneagles’ career, and rides him every day.
Aidan said: “Joseph said before the race that he had him better today than at any stage, which was pleasing to hear. He does everything with the horse and he wouldn’t say that lightly.
“He had him very well at Newmarket for the Guineas, but we couldn’t train him real hard for the Curragh, so just ticked him over and then revved him up today. He gets a bit hot before he runs and is a warm-blooded horse, but he takes everything in his stride.
“He’s very like Giants Causeway in that he’s got the same constitution, but he has more speed. You rode Giants Causeway near the pace and would grind it out, but this horse can relax and quicken. I don’t think we’ve had a miler as good as him. As a two-year-old he was never going to get up the ratings because he only would only do the minimum – today I was surprised he won by two and a half lengths.
“If it was lovely ground at Goodwood you would want to see him run there [against older milers for the first time in the Qatar Sussex Stakes] and then he could run over ten furlongs if the lads decide that’s what they want to do.”
This was O’Brien’s seventh win in the St James’s Palace Stakes, but he played down his role, saying: “I’m just a small part of a very big team, and privileged to be able to play a part. I’m getting older now and the younger lads are coming on. I’m watching more and going with the flow. I’m 45 now and it’s great to see younger people coming along and taking responsiblity and the pressure. So many people make it happen.
“I only look on – I just stand at the top of the gallops and watch the work, which is good for me, and a lot less pressure.”
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