Seventh Heaven and Found give Aidan O’Brien one-two in Yorkshire Oaks
Horse racing Seventh Heaven and Found give Aidan O’Brien one-two in Yorkshire Oaks Filly & Mare Turf at Breeders’ Cup a possible plan for the winner
O’Brien gets ever closer to winning £6m in one season
Aidan O’Brien took another significant step towards becoming the first trainer to win £6m in a season in Britain with a one-two in the feature event here on Thursday when Seventh Heaven, the Irish Oaks winner, held off Found by two-and-three-quarter lengths in the Yorkshire Oaks. The win was O’Brien’s fifth in the past seven Group One races staged in Britain, and his total prize money of £5.7m is already a record with almost three months of the campaign still to run.
Those final months of the season include some of the biggest prizes of all, including the St Leger at Doncaster – for which O’Brien has Idaho, the ante-post favourite – and Champions Day at Ascot. The trainer has a long list of potential contenders there, including both Seventh Heaven and Found, though the Arc meeting at Longchamp and the Breeders’ Cup in America in early November will also need to be considered.
O’Brien and the Coolmore Stud syndicate led by John Magnier have a wealth of possibilities to juggle ahead of the major autumn meetings, but at his current rate of progress, the trainer will not just reach £6m this year, but £7m too. His record-breaking total has also been compiled despite missing out on the Derby’s first prize of nearly £800,000, while in all, he has won nine of the 22 Group Ones in Britain this year.
The Ballydoyle string has maintained its dominance in the absence of Ryan Moore, O’Brien’s principal jockey, who has been advised to take “complete rest” as he recovers from a hip injury and has not ridden since 31 July. There is still no news about the likely date of Moore’s return though Colm O’Donoghue, the winning jockey on Seventh Heaven, said afterwards that “these are Ryan’s rides, hopefully we’re looking after them for him and he’s getting back soon”.
O’Donoghue had a smooth passage to victory here, as Seventh Heaven moved through strongly from mid-division to see off the Seamus Heffernan-ridden filly and have the race in safe keeping with half a furlong to run.
“Colm gave her a beautiful ride,” O’Brien said. “She came forward lovely from The Curragh [in July] and we thought that everything would suit her well. Seamus’s filly [Found] was just ready to start, but she has an awful lot of class. She got a little bit tired and then Seamus looked after her.
“The lads will decide what they want to do but she has a lot of options. She’s a beautiful traveller and a massive, rangy filly who handles fast ground very well. There’s all the fillies’ races, and the option of the fillies’ and mares’ race in America – and I’d say she’s going to make a real four-year-old.
“When the lads see the horses run at the weekend [including US Army Ranger, the Derby runner-up], the pattern should become apparent.”
O’Brien seemed doubtful about Seventh Heaven as a possible contender for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as she prefers good ground, and she is top-priced at 11‑2 with Hill’s for the Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day, though that meeting also tends to be run with some cut in the ground.
“The ground could be very soft at Ascot, but they are running on the inside track [this year] which could change everything. You know that you’re probably going to get good ground in America, you’d like to have one eye on it and see what you do in between.”