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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

O'Brien: I've not lost any faith in Saxon Warrior – absolutely not

Saxon Warrior and Donnacha O'Brien after their impressive 2,000 Guineas victory
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The two men who know Saxon Warrior better than anyone believe the best is yet to come, with Aidan O’Brien stressing the Juddmonte International was simply part one of a three-race autumn series taking in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

O’Brien's son Donnacha, who rides out Saxon Warrior at home and also guided him to an impressive victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, was on board for a light workout on Tuesday morning and is hopeful the son of Deep Impact can replicate his homework at Leopardstown on September 15.

Watch Saxon Warrior impress in the 2,000 Guineas

He said: "His action and everything was good. I was really happy. His work at home has always been very good but we've not seen that on the track on his last couple of starts. I hope he can show it at Leopardstown.

"I've not lost faith in him, he's a very good horse and I think he'll prove that on his next few starts."

Saxon Warrior did not disgrace himself at York. He arguably raced on the slowest part of the track, furthest away from the nearside rail, and was only a length and three-quarters behind runner-up Poet's Word.

It was still some way short of the Saxon Warrior racegoers saw at Newmarket, though, and Aidan O’Brien said there was a plausible excuse.

"He was very sick after Sandown," said the trainer. "We knew he was only ready to start at York, but we needed to run him and get him going again. It was the first in a three-race programme we've mapped out, so it was important he went there.

Watch Saxon Warrior's run in the Juddmonte International

"The plan was to go to York, then on to Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes, before bringing him back to a mile for the QEII at Ascot.

"I thought there were more positives than negatives at York and I was very happy with him. Donnacha rode him out this morning and was very pleased. I've not lost any faith in him at all – absolutely not." 

Saxon Warrior is as big as 5-1 for the Irish Champion Stakes a fortnight on Saturday with bet365, but is just 3-1 with Ladbrokes. He is a best-priced 10-1 shot for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on October 20.

Ten Sovereigns, pictured winning on debut at the Curragh, is on course for a tilt at the Middle Park
The Juddmonte Middle Park is on the agenda for Ballydoyle's Ten Sovereigns after his breathtaking debut victory at the Curragh on Saturday, where he won a 25-runner 6f maiden by seven lengths. 

The son of No Nay Never was cut to 16-1 (from 25) for next year's Qipco 2,000 Guineas and the winning margin came as no surprise to Aidan O'Brien. 

"I was delighted with Ten Sovereigns," he said. "We thought the world of him in the spring, but he had a setback and that's why you saw him so late.

"He's a lovely colt. We always thought he was high-class from day one. We've an eye on the Middle Park now." 

Donnacha O'Brien, who had the armchair ride on Saturday, was equally impressed. 

"He travelled beautifully and the time was very good," he said. "The 24 of them in behind can't all be useless, so I would say it was a fair performance. I'd say he's very good." 

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I thought there were more positives than negatives at York and I was very happy with him. Donnacha rode him out this morning and was very pleased
E.W. Terms
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