It is almost half a century since the great Nijinksy became the last horse to win the English triple crown. That horse was trained by Vincent O’Brien and was sent from the Ballydoyle stable in County Tipperary and O’Brien’s namesake Aidan O’Brien may well attempt to emulate that feat with yesterday’s 2,000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior, who will be trained on the same gallops that Nijinsky strode out on during those heady mornings back in 1970.
Saxon Warrior’s joint owner Michael Tabor was clearly enthusiastic about the idea when spoken to about the possibility after witnessing the son of Japanese stallion Deep Impact win the first of the season’s classics in fine style. “Why not? It most definitely motivates me” he said, with a look in his eye that suggested owning such a horse might be the crowning moment of his racing life.
The Derby is next on the agenda and the colt is currently a hot favourite at 10/11. Were he to win that the temptation to go to Doncaster and take on the St Leger would surely be overwhelming. The same connections followed a similar path with 2012 2,000 Guineas winner Camelot but he failed at the final hurdle when second to Godolphin’s Encke at Doncaster.
Yesterday’s big race jockey Donnacha O’Brien, the trainer’s son, said he felt that “If I had to put my neck on the line I would say his optimum trip is a mile and a quarter. He is definitely not a slow horse but he is bred to stay, and he is very relaxed, so there is every chance he’ll stay a mile and half.”
A mile and half is one thing but the mile and six furlongs at Doncaster may be another. Epsom will be the focus for now but one thing is certain, Michael Tabor, Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore operation would surely like nothing better than to leave their mark on racing history with a triple crown winner on their ever-growing roll of honour.
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