Clash of the titans: Saxon could take on Enable and Roaring Lion at York
Saxon Warrior is set to have his next start in the Juddmonte International at York next month, setting up a potentially mouthwatering clash with Arc heroine Enable as well as old foes Roaring Lion and Masar.
Aidan O'Brien's 2,000 Guineas hero may have suffered defeat in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday, but in pushing Roaring Lion to a neck just a week after finishing third in the Irish Derby, Saxon Warrior went some way to restoring his reputation.
The son of Deep Impact, who was bumped by Roaring Lion in the closing stages of Saturday's contest, will in the meantime enjoy a well-deserved rest before the International, which takes place on August 22.
O'Brien said on Monday: “He seems to be in good form. He obviously hasn’t done much since Saturday.
“We’ll give him a little bit of time now and we're looking forward to training him for York and then Leopardstown [Qipco Irish Champions Stakes].”
As if to avoid temptation of returning to the fray again before York, Saxon Warrior has been scratched from the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and Sussex Stakes.
Masar, who finished behind Saxon Warrior in the Guineas but turned the tables in the Derby, was a late absentee from the Eclipse with heat in a leg, while injury has prevented Arc winner Enable from reappearing this year.
Roaring Lion shades favouritism for the Juddmonte International at 4-1, with Prince of Wales's Stakes winner Poet's Word, Masar, Enable and Saxon Warrior all around the 5-1 mark.
Last weekend was a typically hectic one for O’Brien, with runners in Ireland, Britain, France and the US.
O’Brien took plenty of positives from Mendelssohn’s performance in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont, in which he finished third, and will continue to chart a path towards the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“Mendelssohn seems to be fine," he said. "It was his first run back [after the Kentucky Derby] and obviously he got a little tired in the finish.
“We're going to choose a race before the Breeders' Cup Classic and take things from there.”
On impressive Belmont Oaks winner Athena, O’Brien added: “We were delighted with her as she’s been really progressive lately.
"We were delighted with her run in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh before going to America, and we were delighted with her again at Belmont. She has lots of options – the Irish Oaks, Nassau, all of those types of races.”
It is a similar story for Hunting Horn, a closing third in the Belmont Derby. O’Brien said: “He's quite similar to Athena as he’s got a lot of options. We could run in the Secretariat Stakes, but there are lots of other races. We’ll get him home and come up with a plan.”
Gustav Klimt was third in the Prix Jean Prat and O'Brien said: “He ran a good race and the Sussex Stakes could be a possibility. We think Goodwood would suit him well.”
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