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    Henry Longfellow planned to win at Royal Ascot
Henry Longfellow planned to win at Royal Ascot
Henry Longfellow. Source: irishracing.com

Henry Longfellow planned to win at Royal Ascot

Aidan O'Brien made a "tactical error" that he feels cost Henry Longfellow`s defeat in the French 2000 Guineas race on Sunday at Paris Longchamp.

The three-year-old, a son of Dubawi and the talented racemare Minding, was bred to be a superstar and had an impeccable juvenile career, winning all three of his starts, including the Group One National Stakes.

Henry Longfellow instead crossed the Channel for the French equivalent, the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, but was unable to score a blow, finishing eighth out of 13 runners. Henry Longfellow's stablemate City Of Troy was the stable's selected representative in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

“That was a tactical error on my behalf. I said to Ryan (Moore) to take his time on him because it was his first run and he hadn’t been away and he’d never been on that type of track,” said O’Brien. “Ryan took his time but then found himself in a way that he couldn’t get out, and to get out he had to keep coming back to get out, but as he kept coming back they kept going by him and the next thing he ended up too far back in a slowly-run race. He’s come in like he didn’t have any kind of race, but with Ryan he’s obviously very experienced and he knows when his chance has gone and he doesn’t go to the end of a horse then. Henry came in and he was very happy in himself so we just put that down to a lovely experience, he went right-handed and I’d say he felt it was only a piece of work.”

O'Brien is optimistic that his protégé will eventually reveal his real colours, and the St. James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot seem like a prime target for atonement.

He added: “The plan with him was, if everything went well, was to go to the St James’s Palace so we’re going to stick to that plan. I’ll probably have more confidence in him the next day to tell Ryan to go forward with him in the St James’s Palace. Ryan will listen to every word you say and carry it out but the way that it worked, the race didn’t fall for us. In France, around Longchamp, if it’s a steady pace it’s very hard to make a length.”

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