Win or lose on Sunday, the Beat goes on for rising star O'Halloran
Aidan O'Brien won a Classic with a maiden at Epsom on Friday. But can it be done with a 125-1 shot at Chantilly on Sunday?
Carla O'Halloran – the 32-year-old polyglot daughter of a Spanish father and Scottish mother – has learned her trade all across Europe, winning amateur jockeys' titles in Spain and Italy en route to Chantilly, where she spent six years with one of the best teachers in the game, Alain de Royer-Dupre.
When she set up on her own in 2014, O'Halloran – whose English is inflected with a fine Scottish lilt – could not have dared dream she would be saddling a runner in the Qipco Prix du Jockley Club –France's most important Classic – so soon.
Not that it was the plan for Beat Generation to be lining up as a maiden.
"I’m very easy on my horses, and at the beginning of the year when we had very bad weather, when others were cantering on the Fibresand, I slowed down and lost a week. Maybe if you have 100 horses you can do things differently."
Beat Generation, owned and bred by British-based Paul Smith and ridden by O'Halloran's partner Fabien Lefebvre, has run well on both starts, putting in eye-catching late progress at Maisons-Laffitte last month.
"He didn’t jump great and Fabien had to ride him from behind, which is never easy going left-handed at Maisons-Laffitte," said O'Halloran.
"He ran a really nice race and afterwards it was like he'd done a good piece of work; he definitely came on for it without having had a hard time."
Not that running in the Jockey Club has been anything but a long-term plan for trainer and owner.
"Paul's been breeding for a number of years and has horses with Rae Guest as well as me," said O'Halloran. "He came over to see him in December and said, ‘I’ve never had such a good looking horse. He just looks like an outstanding colt.'
"That was the day we decided this could be the target. It’s a big day for Paul and the idea of having a very nice horse in our boxes is amazing for all of us."
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