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City Of Troy staying on Derby path, says O’Brien

City Of Troy staying on Derby path, says O’Brien
City Of Troy staying on Derby path, says O’Brien

City Of Troy remains on course for the Betfred Derby, with his trainer Aidan O’Brien eager to draw a line through his disappointing 2000 Guineas effort.

Part-owner Michael Tabor referred to the son of Justify as “our Frankel” after finishing his two-year-old season unbeaten, with the early part of 2024 filled with Triple Crown dreams and thoughts of matching the achievements of some of the best to ever set foot on a racecourse.

He was sent off the 4-6 favourite in front of an expectant Newmarket crowd for leg one of his three-year-old campaign, with those who flocked to the Rowley Mile ultimately left deflated as City Of Troy trailed home ninth of the 11 starters in the opening Classic of the summer.

O’Brien suggested his star colt was upset in the stalls in the immediate aftermath and went further to explain what happened on Monday, pondering whether he had the three-year-old at concert pitch for his seasonal return.

City Of Troy going to post at Newmarket
City Of Troy going to post at Newmarket (David Davies for the Jockey Club/PA)

He said: “Maybe I left him too fresh, because he went into the stalls and reared up and when he hit the ground they let him go straight away.

“Usually what would happen when they’d rear up like that their heart rate would rise, but they’d usually get a second when they let them go back before they set off. But he went in, got upset and then ‘bang’, out straight away.

“His heart was probably very high, what happens usually those horses usually get into the red zone a lot quicker than they should. So probably he was in the red zone before halfway, so I’d say that’s what happened. But because I’d left him too fresh, I was probably too easy on him and left him too fresh.”

City Of Troy was eased in the Derby market and replaced as favourite by Charlie Appleby’s Arabian Crown following his Guineas reversal, but the master of Ballydoyle has confirmed Epsom remains plan A, where he will attempt to repeat the Derby redemption heroics of Auguste Rodin 12 months ago.

Aidan O’Brien has Epsom in mind for both City Of Troy and Ylang Ylang
Aidan O’Brien has Epsom in mind for both City Of Troy and Ylang Ylang (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“He’ll stay on the same path, you often miss the first one but we’ll just put a line through it,” continued O’Brien.

“He’ll go for the Derby, that’s the pattern he was going and that’s the way he’ll go.”

O’Brien also has Epsom in mind for Ylang Ylang after the Fillies’ Mile winner caught the eye when finishing fifth – beaten only a length – in Sunday’s 1000 Guineas.

She currently heads the betting for the Betfred Oaks with O’Brien saying: “She was working like an Oaks filly, and that’s what she looked like. She’ll go straight to the Oaks. She ran well.”

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