Salvador has illustrious acts to follow for O'Brien
AIDAN O'BRIEN bids to win the Coolmore Vintage Crop Stakes for the fifth time in seven renewals at Navan where El Salvador carries Ballydoyle's hopes.
O'Brien took the race in both 2007 and 2008 with the great Yeats, while Fame And Glory emerged on top in 2011 and 2012.
El Salvador still has a long way to go to reach the heights of those pair, but he is getting there. The son of Galileo carries the colours of Annemarie O'Brien, wife of Aidan and mother of Joseph, who takes the mount.
The champion jockey has developed a fine relationship with El Salvador, who won easily on two all-weather starts this year before readily accounting for Voleuse De Coeurs at Limerick last month.
"He's won his three race this year and has improved with every run," said Aidan O'Brien.
"When he won last time at Limerick the ground was heavy, which was far from ideal for him but he handles it. He's in good form."
The Dermot Weld-trained Voleuse De Coeurs must be deemed a big threat as she lacked a recent run when second at Limerick. On her previous start, in last October's Irish Cesarewitch, she won by ten lengths against 26 rivals.
"I think she will get on very well," Weld said. "She is potentially a very good filly but I don't want to see too much rain overnight. She is a good-actioned filly and, provided Navan escapes the worst of the rain, I think she will be hard to beat."
Jessica Harrington fears Steps To Freedom, who finished third in the race last year, may not get his ideal ground.
"I looked at the forecast and it looked like the rain may stay away," she said.
"I would hate not to have him in the race if no rain came, so he's declared. If the ground turns to soft he won't run. He's in great form. He was ready to run over fences during the week but the ground just wasn't right."
Solo Performer, rated 89, will take his chance for trainer Harry Rogers. The mares Tantalising and Missunited bid for black type, while Macbeth aims to build on a decent run last time out behind Camelot.
Navan yielding, good to yielding in places
Market Rasen good, good to soft in places
Ripon good to soft, soft in places
Stratford good to soft, good in places