Aidan O’Brien has confirmed that Arc heroine Found’s first preference at the Breeders’ Cup will be the Classic – a race that has tantalisingly eluded the Ballydoyle trainer in the past.
Highland Reel was also included in the 14-strong pre-entry for the $6million dirt contest, but the King George winner looks bound for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
O’Brien has finished second in the Classic with Giant’s Causeway and Henrythenavigator, while Declaration Of War was third in the mile-and-a-quarter showpiece that will be staged on November 5.
He reported it is “very possible” Found’s Coolmore owners will send her to Santa Anita for the Classic. Her sire Galileo finished sixth in the same race in 2001.
O’Brien said: “It’s a bit (of an) unknown that she hasn’t raced on the dirt before. Galileo ran well in the Classic himself on dirt after a long gruelling season as a three-year-old. Anything is possible with Galileos.
“Found is an incredible mare. She handles fast ground and soft ground. She seems very versatile, really.
“She is a filly with a lot of tactical speed, but we know she stays a mile and a half. She has been very competitive in Group Ones from a mile up to a mile and a half.”
O’Brien has registered 10 Breeders’ Cup winners to date and a strong raiding party will depart for California on Monday.
Highland Reel is set to contest the Turf after finishing second to Found in the Arc.
O’Brien confirmed that race is the plan for Highand Reel and said: “So far, so good.
“He is a great horse – tough, consistent and runs at an unbelievably high level all the time. He handles all kinds of ground – very happy with fast ground – stays a mile and half well and has plenty of tactical speed.”
Alice Springs, from O’Brien’s crack three-year-old fillies’ team, looks bound for the Mile after winning the Group One Matron Stakes and the Sun Chariot Stakes.
She is likely to be joined in it by Cougar Mountain.
O’Brien said: “Alice Springs is a very good filly and seems to be getting quicker as the year goes on. She seems to love fast ground and is a strong traveller.
“She seems to be in good form. The filly has progressed with every run and obviously we were very happy with her at Newmarket (Sun Chariot).
“Cougar Mountain will probably go as well. He is a very tough, consistent horse who just wants fast ground and a good pace on. That’s when he is seen at his best.”
Washington DC is on course for the Turf Sprint after finishing second in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly. Seventh Heaven and first reserve Pretty Perfect could leave O’Brien double-handed in the Filly & Mare Turf.
And from the powerful Ballydoyle two-year-old team, Hydrangea and Roly Poly will probably represent O’Brien in the Juvenile Fillies.
Hydrangea was second to stablemate Rhododendron in the Fillies’ Mile, while Roly Poly was short-headed last month in the Cheveley Park Stakes.
O’Brien said: “Hydrangea gets a mile well – we saw that in the Fillies’ Mile. She’s in good form and it’s very possible she’ll go. Roly Poly would be stepping up in trip but it’s possible that she’ll go. She’ll love the fast ground and we’ll find out about the mile.”
Intelligence Cross and Lancaster Bomber head the market for the Juvenile Turf. Intelligence Cross was fourth in the Middle Park Stakes and Lancaster Bomber chased home Churchill in the Dewhurst Stakes.
O’Brien said: “The plan at the moment is for the two of them to go to the Juvenile Turf.
“Intelligence Cross would love fast ground and going round the bend. The other horse would love the ground, it looks like that he would appreciate going a mile.”