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Magnier relieved as City Of Troy’s renaissance continues

Magnier relieved as City Of Troy’s renaissance continues
Magnier relieved as City Of Troy’s renaissance continues

The time for talking is done. That was the message from John Magnier after City Of Troy took another step closer to confirming himself as the greatest to don his famous dark blue silks in the Coral-Eclipse.

Earmarked for superstardom from the day he carted Ryan Moore on a lap of the Curragh post winning his maiden, his team have never been shy in proclaiming the son of American Triple Crown hero Justify as one of the best to ever step through the gates of Ballydoyle.

With all of his owners in attendance, including Magnier, who was making a rare visit to Sandown accompanied by his wife Sue, City Of Troy was expected to deliver in style.

However, on the most testing ground he has encountered in his career, he showed a different champion quality, the ability to get in the dirt and grind it out.

It was an admirable victory , if not the exuberant victory many have come to expect, and Magnier now believes it is now time for the horse to walk the walk and dazzle his many admirers for the rest of the season.

He said: “It wasn’t what we were expecting to be honest and we’re not making excuses – you don’t need to when the horse wins the race.

“But a quarter of the field was taken out because of the ground and he really is a good-moving horse. It’s quite extraordinary how this horse moves.

“There is no point us talking about this horse any more. We only look foolish and after the 2000 Guineas we were really in the mess.

“This horse now has to do it himself – it’s like his clothes are off and he’s in the bed, it’s up to him.

“The year is long and we would just like to see him run on his ground. He’s only been beaten once in his life and we’re here complaining, so that will tell you what we think of him.”

City Of Troy’s trainer has never taken one of his record number of Derby winners to Sandown for Eclipse before.

For all Sea The Stars and Golden Horn have done the Epsom-Sandown double in the 21st century, connections know full well the race has the capacity to chew up and spit out those who flourished on the Surrey Downs – just ask Authorized and Motivator.

However, this race became the obvious place for City Of Troy after proving more wooden horse than wonder horse in the 2000 guineas.

Aidan O’Brien and John Magnier (left) were both delighted to see City Of Troy win at Sandown
Aidan O’Brien and John Magnier (left) were both delighted to see City Of Troy win at Sandown (Damien Eagers/PA)

“It was important to come here especially after he didn’t do so well in the Guineas,” added Magnier.

“It showed he doesn’t have to be a mile-and-a-half horse. If he had won the Guineas we may have been going to the St Leger and down that route.

“We had to see where he fit in with the other horses and we were lucky that we also had some other horses for the Irish Derby, so it was easy to split them up.”

It was the master of Ballydoyle who re-laid City Of Troy’s foundations, resulting in an imperious Derby redemption act for the ages.

However, those closest to the colt never lost the belief – those who have the privilege of watching him at close quarters on a daily basis.

“It emanates from Aidan and Ballydoyle and what they they think of this horse and what they see in the morning,” continued Magnier when answering why connections speak so fondly of their all-conquering three-year-old.

“I’ve been there and watching him work and we’ve seen the times he can do without being asked. He’s just a natural horse and has been from the word go and usually pulling him up has been the biggest job with him.

“I don’t know what happened in the 2000 Guineas, it was just one of those things but we then saw what he did in the Derby and then again today.

“I enjoyed it today and luckily it was a Wootton Bassett (Al Riffa) that was taking him on so it was a little each-way!”

City Of Troy storms by the winning post at Sandown
City Of Troy storms by the winning post at Sandown (Steven Paston for the Jockey Club/PA)

After a visit to York or Leopardstown in the coming months, the final question for City Of Troy to answer is whether he could he emulate his father and triumph on dirt.

It is a question Magnier is looking to the heavens for guidance on, but it seems likely he will be headed to Del Mar looking to achieve what some of the Coolmore greats have never managed before.

“Only God knows,” said Magnier when asked about City Of Troy’s credentials for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“I can’t answer that. We have tried it on several occasions – we tried it with Galileo and it didn’t work and we tried it with Giant’s Causeway and it nearly did and then we hit the crossbar with Declaration Of War.

“We all enjoy having a go and seeing if we can do something out of the ordinary. Whatever happens we will keep trying to do it.”

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