'He goes very well' - Aidan O'Brien talks up unraced 33-1 Derby dark horse

Aidan OâBrien organises 1st lotBallydoyle, nr RosegreenPhoto: Patrick McCann/Racing Post28.03.2022
Aidan O'Brien: expected to target several unexposed colts at Classic trials in coming weeksCredit: Patrick McCann (

Ballydoyle barely flexed its muscles in the juvenile department last season according to Aidan O'Brien, who nominated the unraced Waterville as a possible Derby colt judging by what he shows at home on the gallops.

O'Brien has a number of unexposed colts ready to start off in Classic trials in the coming weeks, including Glounthaune, who was forced to play catch-up after suffering a setback last season, French Guineas hopeful Star Of India and Derrinstown Derby Trial-bound Bluegrass. However, it was mention of the Derby for the unraced Waterville that caught plenty of interest.

Ruler Of The World won the Derby for O'Brien in 2013 despite not gracing the track as a two-year-old and Waterville, a general 33-1 chance for Derby glory, has shown the trainer enough to suggest he could be of that standard.

O'Brien said: "We have a horse there called Waterville who has never run before. He could be a good bit better than a maiden and may even be a Derby horse. He's a Camelot half-brother to Sea Of Class, who was only just beaten in an Arc for William Haggas.

"He's a Derby-type horse and goes very well. He's a very big horse and will run in a maiden before long."

Waterville was not the only unraced colt O'Brien put forward at a media morning at Ballydoyle on Monday when the legendary trainer suggested he had barely scratched the surface with a number of his three-year-old colts and fillies.

He explained: "Middlemarch and Samuel Pepys are also nice three-year-olds who have never run before. Snowfall's brother Newfoundland is another nice maiden. There are plenty of maidens there who could be very smart.

Ballydoyle Mon 28 March 2022Glounthaune ridden by Roger Quinlan
Glounthaune: set for Leopardstown's 2,000 Guineas TrialCredit: Caroline Norris (

"Of the fillies, Perotan is a Churchill who goes well and Only is the first foal out of Winter, by Deep Impact, who we like. Champagne is a sister to Found and goes nicely as well."

Glounthaune, Star Of India, Bluegrass and River Thames all showed smart form at two and O'Brien added: "Glounthaune will go for the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on Saturday. He's a very big horse and we were playing catch-up with him all last season. He could be a French Guineas horse.

"River Thames was working very well and we were very happy with him but he picked up a stone bruise a couple of days ago. We were going to go for the Ballysax but he just won't get to make that now.

"Bluegrass will probably go to the Derrinstown Derby Trial. He won his maiden at the Curragh and is nice."

He added: "Star Of India went to the Curragh on Saturday. We wanted to see whether or not we will start him back over a mile or whether he wants a mile and a quarter. He went well.

"We took him there to find out if he was a Derby horse or a Guineas horse. He has a lazy way of going but there's always plenty left in the tank. He could go for a French Guineas, and go on from there, he's that type of horse. Colm [O'Donoghue] rode him and he could be anything."

O'Brien was not represented in the opening two-year-old maiden of the season at the Curragh on Saturday but put forward a number of juveniles who are forward enough in their work to suggest they will grace the track before long.

He said: "Little Big Bear is a No Nay Never colt who goes well and Mediate is a No Nay Never filly who will be out early as well. There's another colt who goes very well, Congo River, and he's by Mendelssohn."

Sioux Nation, who O'Brien trained to win the Norfolk and Phoenix Stakes, hit the ground running with Ocean Quest getting him off the mark as a sire in that Curragh maiden.

O'Brien described Sioux Nation's offspring as "very fast horses" and reports Tiger Paw, one of two colts he has by the first-season sire, as exciting.

He said: "We only have two Sioux Nations – the other is on a little break – but they seem to be very fast.

"There's a Dark angel colt out of Anna Law, so he's a brother to Battaash, and he looks smart and there's another No Nay Never colt called Aesop's Fables who goes nicely. They're all the early ones."

Read these next:

Aidan O'Brien pins Guineas hopes on Luxembourg as he reveals Classic plans

Unbeaten Guineas filly Tenebrism delights Aidan O'Brien as Classic team work

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Brian SheerinReporter
Published on 28 March 2022Last updated 18:21, 28 March 2022