O’Brien duo look forward to better Curragh ground

Air Force Blue is looking to bounce back at the Curragh

Aidan O’Brien is relishing the prospect of a sound racing surface at the Curragh tomorrow for Caravaggio and Air Force Blue.

The former is the ante-post favourite for the Qipco 2000 Guineas after winning his three starts to date, including the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, a race won last year by Air Force Blue, who has been beaten in two Guineas this season.

Caravaggio is the hot favourite to claim his first Group One in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes and O’Brien is hopeful he can show his very best away from the soft ground he has encountered on his last two runs.

He said: “I suppose he’s been very impressive in his three runs really, we’ve been really happy with what he’s done.

“He’s always been very impressive at home, this will be his first run on nice ground and he is a very fast horse. He’s always shown an awful lot of pace in his work and it can’t be a disadvantage to us, anyway.”

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Caravaggio will be without the assistance of the sidelined Ryan Moore, but O’Brien added: “Seamus (Heffernan) knows him inside and out, he won on him first time and he rides him in all his work.

“Everything seems to be good so far.”

“He’s always been very impressive at home, this will be his first run on nice ground and he is a very fast horse.”

Air Force Blue was odds-on for the Guineas at Newmarket in May but beat just one home, as he did in the Irish equivalent. He returned to sprinting in the Darley July Cup back at Newmarket and O’Brien felt he ran better than his placing of 12th suggests.

The War Front colt faces six rivals in the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Phoenix Sprint Stakes, and O’Brien told At The Races: “We were very happy with his run at Newmarket, he nearly went to the line on the bridle and Ryan was very happy.

“The way the race fell he was a little slowly away and found himself behind a wall of horses and the wall never split, so he sat away.

“It might have been a blessing in disguise, as it’s a big jump from the Irish Guineas in soft ground into that. He had a very easy race, it was only really like a piece of work to him.

“We were looking forward to going to France (Prix Maurice de Gheest) with him, but the ground wasn’t there.

“We’re very happy with him at home and looking forward to seeing him run on nice ground.”

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