October 1, 2022

O’Brien tops Royal Ascot again following wins by Idaho, September

Idaho was on of six Royal Ascot victories this week for Aidan O'Brien (photo courtesy of British Champions Series twitter)

Aidan O’Brien forged ahead to yet another Royal Ascot trainer’s title, his third successive and eighth overall, on the final day of the prestigious fixture Saturday, scoring wins with Idaho in the Hardwicke (G2) and the juvenile filly September in the opening Chesham Stakes.

A 9-2 chance in the 1 1/2-mile Hardwicke following a season-opening sixth in the Coronation Cup (G1) at Epsom, Idaho rated in fifth early under Seamie Heffernan, overtook 9-4 favorite Dartmouth in the stretch and drove home a half-length winner at odds of 9-2. The final time on good-to-firm ground was 2:28.94.

Longshots Barsanti and Chemical Change rounded out the top three while Dartmouth, looking to repeat in the Hardwicke for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, weakened to fourth after tracking leader Dal Harraild most of the way.

Idaho, a full brother to Highland Reel, globetrotting winner of Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s (G1), was recording his second career stakes win. Hero of the Great Voltigeur (G2) last August, he had earlier placed in the Epsom Derby (G1) and Irish Derby (G1), but was unlucky in the St Leger (G1) when unseating Heffernan when about to reach contention.

“He is a full brother to Highland Reel, he has a fabulous pedigree and we’ve always loved him,” O’Brien said. “Epsom was his first run of the year and he arrived at the track only an hour before the race [after travel problems] and he was very upset and he never got time to cool down.

“He was very unlucky in the St Leger last year, he had a lovely position in the straight,” he added.

September, a hot 11-8 favorite in the seven-furlong Chesham, cemented her status as the early choice for next year’s 1000 Guineas (G1) with a rallying 2 1/4-length score over long-time leader Nyaleti.

Under Ryan Moore, who himself claimed another Royal Ascot riding title, September completed the course in 1:26.70.

“She is out of Peeping Fawn and by Deep Impact, so she is bred absolutely in the purple,” O’Brien said. “She has a massive engine, a great traveler and quickens really well.

“Seamie loved her when he rode her at Leopardstown [won by five and a half-lengths]. She was very impressive that day and what’s unusual about her is not a very big filly but she thinks she is big — she has a big personality. Like those very good ones, she has a real presence about her.

“She could go to the Debutante (G2) and then onto the Moyglare (G1) next.”

The featured Diamond Jubilee (G1) over six furlongs saw The Tin Man survive a stewards’ inquiry following a 9-2 neck victory over Tasleet, with 2-1 favorite Limato another three parts of a length back in third. Ridden by Tom Queally, The Tin Man finished up in 1:12.02.

The stewards looked into the stretch run as Limato appeared to be slightly squeezed by the top pair approaching the finish, but took no action.

“Ryan [Moore] said he was third best at that stage — end of story,” said Limato’s trainer, Henry Candy.

Eighth of nine in last year’s Diamond Jubilee in his only poor outing of the season, The Tin Man capped off the year with a one-length score in the British Champion Sprint (G1) over the Diamond Jubilee course and distance. He was 6 1/4 lengths fifth to Tasleet in the May 17 Duke of York (G2) in his seasonal reappearance.

“I am extremely grateful for The Tin Man, for giving a fantastic performance,” trainer James Fanshawe said. “This horse doesn’t tell you a thing back home. He just has a buck and a kick and does none of his homework.

“He is entered in the July Cup (G1), it’s the obvious target but we will play it by ear. Things have come right for him at Ascot this year and he is in good form at the moment. There looks to be a good three-year-old around the place [Aidan O’Brien’s Caravaggio] so we’ll see what happens later in the year.”

Long On Value, trained in the U.S. by Bill Mott, finished 12th in the field of 18.