Horse racing trainer Aidan O’Brien
BetVictor Racing Ambassador Sam Boswell sat with legendary Tipperary champion horse racing trainer Aiden O’Brien to discuss the which horses are expected to perform well this weekend.
Aidan O'Brien has trained 21 winning horses at the Guineas Festival since 1997. Mr O'Brien trained last year's Guineas festival winner, Empress Josephine, on the 1000. This year Mr O'Brien hopes that his horse Tenebrism can repeat Empress Josephine's success..
Here is the entire interview
Sam Boswell: The Guineas at Newmarket, both the 1000 and 2000 is a race that you’ve got a great record in. Is there anything specific you can pinpoint that seems to run through every horse that you’ve had that’s run particularly well in that race? Is there something that stands out to you in that race, a trait, or a mannerism that you need to win a Guineas?
Aidan O’Brien: You need a good horse to win the Guineas. They must have experience from last year, but they have to be at a very, very high level. Newmarket is a tough track; you have to stay well and you need to have speed. So, it's a tough race, and it's a tough race to be going into for the first time in a season. So, they do take plenty of work and a lot of minding, lots of changing with things you know, so it is a very exciting time really.
Sam Boswell: So, we're looking ahead to the 2000 Guineas Aiden and you've got a couple of potential contenders. Luxembourg looks like a really exciting prospect, just talk us through what makes him such an interesting horse.
Aidan O’Brien: Yeah, I suppose he’s always been a very high cruiser in his work, he's got a lot of class. He's easy to train, he's easy to get fit. He's by Camelot, so there's a lot of brilliance in there. He was always very natural from the first day he worked. He won in Killarney first time out and then he went and won at the Curragh, then of course he won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. So, he's always been a very exciting horse really, he’s a high cruiser and seems to have a lot of class.
Sam Boswell: Being by Camelot, naturally the first thing people are going to jump to is potentially 2000 Guineas and the Derby. At what point do you have that on your mind, are you already considering it? Do you think 'I need to get the 2000 Guineas out the way and then we'll see?' Is it already in your thinking?
Aidan O’Brien: I think the Classics are always in our thinking. With what he showed last year, we thought that he definitely would be worth running in the Guineas. It’s a great race, on a great track and it's a big day. You have to get a mile very well to win a Guineas, sometimes a Guineas horse can get a mile and a quarter, even get a mile and a half.
Sam Boswell: We've got Luxembourg on the one hand; how would he measure up against Point Lonsdale who’s another potential runner in the race?
Aidan O’Brien: Yeah, Point Lonsdale ran more as a two-year-old. I don't think he's ever ran any further than seven and we always thought he was crying out to go a mile, mile and a quarter, and could even go further. He's probably more experienced, he's more battle-hardened. But a lovely straightforward horse as well, very genuine, good mover, cruises very well. So, I suppose they're similar horses. But I suppose Point Lonsdale has done more racing and has a little bit more experience.
Sam Boswell: It's quite interesting the comparison being very different in their approaches coming into this. I'm not asking you to nail your colours to the mast, but which would you say would be a more traditional preparation in your head? Do you like the fact that Point Lonsdale has had the experience? Or is the potential that's yet to be seen with Luxembourg arguably a better strength?
Aidan O’Brien: Yeah sure, both of them are in good shape and they have enough experience for a Guineas. We've often run horses in Guineas with only one or two runs. So obviously Luxembourg has had three runs, Point Lonsdale I think has had four or five, so they’ve both got plenty of experience. They’re a very similar type in the way they race but Point Lonsdale has never run further than seven. Whereas Luxembourg has run over a mile and looked like he gets as well, so you wouldn't imagine that Point Lonsdale will have any problem with a mile. We always thought it would even suit him probably better than anything he’s run over. But it was the way I had to work last year. He was the horse that over seven furlongs that we thought was the best we had there at that time for those races, and that’s why he ran in those races.
Sam Boswell: Switching to the 1000 on Sunday, I think Tenebrism is going to be a really interesting horse here, a good winner of the Cheveley Park. How did she do over the winter first of all?
Aidan O’Brien: Very good. Very good. We thought she was very good as a two-year-old and she won first time out. She had a little bit of a setback then we gave her a good break. We then ran her in the Cheveley Park thinking it was going to be way too early for her. It was more to experience the Newmarket track, and hope that, if she came back for the Guineas she'd be in good shape, so we were very surprised by what she did. She'd only been two months back in training and hadn't been away for a racecourse gallop, so it was very unusual, and she had to be very good to do what she did.
Sam Boswell: With that being a pleasant surprise you mentioned the opportunity of getting her to the track, for your horses the style of travel that they adopt is a little bit different, it won't necessarily be for everybody. How much benefit do you think there is taking a three-year-old that, as a two-year-old, already has experienced heading abroad on a plane style that you guys like to run?
Aidan O’Brien: It had to be a big help. She's run on the track and as you said, she has flown, so they would be two big ones. And if she hadn't done that, they would be two unknowns for her going into the Guineas, so it ticked a lot of boxes. It's kind of like having four runs really to fly from here, go run and come back, so there’s a lot of boxes ticked. Obviously, it’s her first run of the season and there is a mile there, she never ran any further than six, but we thought last year looking at her that she would get seven. So, if she got seven last year, there’s a good chance that she might get a mile this year.
Sam Boswell: Historically as we’ve mentioned, it’s a race that you’ve done well in. What would be the three attributes you think that a horse has to have to win a Guineas?
Aidan O’Brien: I think they have to get the mile well; they need to have speed and be well balanced. So, I think they’re three, very important ones. Usually, a horse that gets a mile in the Guineas will get a little bit further, but they have to have the speed to travel like a sprinter, especially down the hill into the dip. It’s a tough race.
Sam Boswell: We’ve mentioned those three that are the bigger names, but would there be any others in your thinking that we should possibly see contending or going to run in the trials and may excel?
Aidan O’Brien: Yeah, I suppose Tuesday won her maiden and we thought it might be too early for her, but we left her on the programme, and we can see where she has taken her maiden and how much she has learned. She would be a possibility at this moment, but obviously, Tenebrism is the most likely one at the moment.
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