Winter set to hit Goodwood as O'Brien reveals Nassau plan
Dual 1,000 Guineas heroine Winter set is to be stepped up in trip after Aidan O'Brien said he was leaning towards running her in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Winter, who completed a treble of Group 1 wins in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, is 7-1 for the August 3 race, which would be her first against older horses and over a new trip of a mile and a quarter.
She had been as short as evens for the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket next week, in which Roly Poly, twice second to Winter, now looks likely to be O'Brien's main contender.
O'Brien said on Thursday: “We have the Nassau in mind for Winter, all going well.”
Caravaggio is on schedule to put his unbeaten record on the line in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket, O'Brien also confirmed.
O’Brien said: “Caravaggio came out of Ascot well and we’ve been happy with him since.”
Looking further ahead, O’Brien said: “The present plan is for Highland Reel to go for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes while his brother, Idaho, who won the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot, might go for the same race.”
Winner of the Coronation Cup and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes this season, Highland Reel will be attempting to become the first back-to-back winner of the King George since Swain took the prize in 1997 and 1998.
And O’Brien confirmed he hoped to run dual Guineas winner Churchill, who disappointed in the St James’s Palace Stakes on his most recent start, in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
"We have our eye on the Sussex for Churchill but nothing is set in stone and we won’t be making a decision until much closer to the day. Nothing came to light to explain his Ascot performance and he seems fine," said O’Brien.
Order Of St George is likely to be Goodwood Cup-bound to renew rivalry with Big Orange, who foiled the Ballydoyle stayer’s Ascot bid for two Gold Cup wins in a row by a short head.
Plans for Rhododendron, who ran second in the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks at Epsom before bleeding badly and being pulled up in the Prix de Diane, are on hold.
"She's still on the easy list. She had a traumatic experience in France and, while she's cantering, we've made no plans for her yet," O'Brien said.
O'Brien, who won the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes with Deauville a year ago, will be represented in Saturday's renewal of the 1m2f event by Whitecliffsofdover (Wayne Lordan) and Homesman (Colm O'Donoghue).
O'Donoghue rides Key To My Heart for O'Brien in the Grade 1 Oaks Invitational Stakes on the same Belmont Park card.