Bobby Zen

After the anti-climax of the Guineas and euphoria of the Derby, Ballydoyle’s City Of Troy (Justify) arrives at Sandown on Saturday with expectations high from a public now ready to fully submerge in his abundant talent. In many ways, the G1 Coral-Eclipse is the ideal framing for all his best qualities, with the mile-and-a-quarter trip allowing him to fully express himself with his blend of speed and stamina and the uphill rise to the line certain to suit his renowned galloping strength.

With older-horse heavyweights White Birch (GB) (Ulysses {Ire}) and Passenger (Ulysses {Ire}) ruled out and some of the kingpins of the division in his own stable, the path seems laid for an emphatic show of dominance and the betting reflects that. Even the shift in Friday’s weather poses no threat, with his ability to handle slow ground in the Dewhurst a major plus coming here.

Aidan O’Brien, whose seven Eclipse winners are some of the race’s finest this century, has always been aware that he is dealing with a rare commodity. “He is a very different, unique horse and with that type of horse there is always pressure as everybody knows what he can do,” he said. “There is a great sense of excitement and anticipation from everybody about what is going to happen on Saturday. It’s his first run over a mile and a quarter and his first run on a right-handed track and Sandown is an undulating track. It’s also his first run against older horses, so there are a lot of unknowns.”

“He has grown up and matured and we have been very happy with everything he has done since Epsom,” he added. “We never thought any distance was a problem to him from when he was a two-year-old. He always gallops through the line, that’s what he does and never seems to be stopping in his races. The horse is going to learn more and I’m sure we are going to learn more about him.”

Hans Andersen (GB) (Frankel {GB}) will ensure the requisite gallop to provide an accurate measurement of City Of Troy. “Hans Andersen will go forward and go an even pace, which will suit everybody,” O’Brien confirmed. “You want an even pace in these big championship races rather than a muddling, messy pace when you don’t really know what happened at the end of the race. We want to judge horses against one another.”


Wet Stuff Perfect For Fish?

Friday’s rain has eased the ground, although not dramatically, so perhaps the greatest threat may come from David Fish’s Dancing Gemini (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) who took Doncaster’s Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes last term and was second in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains on soft going. While connections of Ghostwriter (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) won’t have welcomed the rain, Roger Teal may feel that it swings things more in his colt’s favour.

“The horse hasn’t had much chance to run on decent ground with all the wet weather, so we are not really concerned about the going or if it stays dry or we get some rain. We are happy to run on both types of ground,” he said. “I think the step back to a mile and a quarter will be right up his street. We’ve got to respect City Of Troy, but we just have to roll our sleeves up and do what we do.”

“Whether it be Saturday or in the future, he is definitely going to have his day in the sunshine,” Teal added. “We had a wide trip [when sixth] in the Derby and were further back than we wanted to be, whereas Ryan went down the inner and gained many lengths on us. If we can be closer to him on Saturday, I can see us shortening the distance between us.”

“It’s amazing to have a horse of Dancing Gemini’s calibre in the yard and for his owner-breeders David and Linda Fish. It’s just a dream come true for the horse to be turning out as good as he is. For a yard of our size, it’s been brilliant. I don’t think we’ve ever disgraced ourselves and it would lovely to have a few more good horses in the yard but they are very few and far between, that’s for sure.”


Best of the Rest

This renewal does appear to rest with the Classic generation and Iraj Parvizi’s G3 Hampton Court Stakes winner Jayarebe (Fr) (Zoffany {Ire}) is another who could have a say if City Of Troy suffers another Newmarket-like disappointment. While his Royal Ascot win is some way short of the Derby form, trainer Brian Meehan is happy to have a go in the race he won in 2006 with David Junior (Pleasant Tap). “He’s very progressive and apart from Chester, where he didn’t handle the track, he’s done nothing wrong,” he said. “He’s very very good and he’s going to keep improving.” Of the older horses, the 2022 G1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes hero Al Riffa (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) is probably the pick but he needs to up his game after a sixth in the GI Manhattan Stakes at Saratoga last month.


The Newmarket Knight Prepares his Diamond

Sir Mark Prescott’s stable are hitting form and it is intriguing that he has decided to pitch the Elite Racing Club homebred Tiffany (Ire) (Farhh {GB}) into Saturday’s G2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock only eight days after her impressive G3 Hoppings’ Stakes success. “It’s a risk running her back so soon, but it is a Group 2 and for fillies’ only and there’s a long gap before another suitable race,” he explained. “I had it in mind to give her a mid-season break anyway. If it comes off I’ll look a very clever and skilful trainer and if not why was I running her so soon, so the trainer error element is at risk here.”

Qatar Racing’s Queen Of The Pride (GB) (Roaring Lion) is back over the course and distance of her G3 Lester Piggott Stakes win and back re-opposing that race’s short-headed runner-up Lady Boba (GB) (Lope De Vega {Ire}). One of two for Ralph Beckett here, the latter has scope to turn around that slender defeat. “Lady Boba just got going a bit late last time, she was slightly trapped in behind horses two down and then finished strongly,” her trainer said.


Sunday’s Derby 20 Confirmed

Hamburg’s 155th G1 Idee Deutsches Derby will host 20 contenders on Sunday, with the key players looking to be Stall Lucky Owner’s G3 Baden-Baden Derby-Trial winner Augustus (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}), Stall Helena’s G3 Bavarian Classic scorer Wilko (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) who was second to Augustus at Iffezheim, Darius Racing’s G2 Derby Italiano hero Borna (Fr) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}) and Gestut Ittlingen’s G2 Union-Rennen winner Narrativo (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}). Also on Sunday is Deauville’s seven-furlong G1 Haras d’Etreham Prix Jean Prat, a wide-open affair with a dozen protagonists headed by Juddmonte’s G3 Jersey Stakes runner-up Kikkuli (GB) (Kingman {GB}) and the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches second and fourth Kathmandu (Ire) (Showcasing {GB}) and Romantic Style (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}).

The post ‘There Is Always Pressure’: City Of Troy Poised For Complete Eclipse appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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