Review: 2,000 Guineas success for unbeaten Saxon Warrior
The 2018 Classic season got off to the best possible start on Saturday when Saxon Warrior retained his unbeaten record in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. It was a remarkable ninth win in the race for Aidan O’Brien and a first classic success for his 19-year-old son Donnacha.
“He travelled beautiful today and I thought I was the winner the whole way,” explained the winning rider. “When I gave him a squeeze he made up five lengths in four strides. It was incredible."
Saxon Warrior will now head straight for the Derby at Epsom and when asked about a Triple Crown bid, part-owner Michael Tabor said: “No question, I would think. Why not? It most definitely motivates me.”
Whatever happens in the meantime, the strapping son of Deep Impact and Galileo’s Group 1-winning two-year-old Maybe will be a very welcome addition to the Coolmore roster when the time comes for him to retire.
Later on Saturday at Churchill Downs thing didn’t pan out too well for runaway UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy). By Derby time torrential rain had reduced the surface to a muddy slop and Mendelssohn lost all chance at the start when he suffered severe interference.
In the 1,000 Guineas on Sunday, Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Happily (Galileo) ran a fine race to finish third and may now be aimed at the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
In the feature Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas on Monday, last season’s Derby second Cliffs Of Moher (Galileo) recorded his first success since winning at Chester just under a year ago. “He relaxed lovely and came home well,” commented his trainer. “He has an option of either the Coronation Cup or the Tattersalls Gold Cup now after that.”
The opening 2YO fillies’ maiden saw Fairyland run out an impressive winner in the colours of Mrs Stockwell while Coral Beach (Zoffany) also ran a race full of promise back in third. The pair both looked Royal Ascot two-year-olds, as did Van Beethoven (Scat Daddy) who justified favouritism to win the following race.