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    O'Brien says City of Troy is continuing on its Derby course
O'Brien says City of Troy is continuing on its Derby course
City of Troy and Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Source: rte.ie

O'Brien says City of Troy is continuing on its Derby course

Trainer Aidan O'Brien is keen to put a positive face on City of Troy's disappointing performance in the 2000 Guineas, and the City of Troy is still on track to compete in the Betfred Derby.

After the Justify son finished his two-year-old season undefeated, part-owner Michael Tabor referred to him as “our Frankel.” The early months of 2024 will be filled with Triple Crown aspirations and thoughts of matching the accomplishments of some of the greatest racecourse athletes ever.

He was sent off as the 4-6 favourite in front of an eager Newmarket crowd for leg one of his three-year campaign. Those who flocked to the Rowley Mile ultimately left disappointed as City of Troy trailed home ninth of the 11 starters in the opening Classic of the summer.

In addition to explaining what transpired on Monday, O'Brien hinted that his star colt was unhappy in the stalls in the immediate aftermath and wondered if he had the three-year-old at concert pitch for his seasonal comeback.

He said: “Maybe I left him too fresh, because he went into the stalls and reared up and when he hit the ground they let him go straight away. Usually what would happen when they’d rear up like that their heart rate would rise, but they’d usually get a second when they let them go back before they set off. But he went in, got upset and then ‘bang’, out straight away. His heart was probably very high, what happens is that those horses usually get into the red zone a lot quicker than they should. So probably he was in the red zone before halfway, so I’d say that’s what happened. But because I’d left him too fresh, I was probably too easy on him and left him too fresh.”

After his Guineas reversal, Charlie Appleby's Arabian Crown overtook City of Troy as the favourite in the Derby market. However, the master of Ballydoyle has confirmed that Epsom is still plan A, where he will try to replicate Auguste Rodin's heroic Derby redemption 12 months ago.

“He’ll stay on the same path, you often miss the first one but we’ll just put a line through it,” continued O’Brien. “He’ll go for the Derby, that’s the pattern he was going and that’s the way he’ll go.”

In addition, O'Brien has Epsom in mind for Ylang Ylang after the Fillies Mile winner grabbed attention by placing fifth in the 1000 Guineas on Sunday, losing by just a length. 

She currently heads the betting for the Betfred Oaks with O’Brien saying: “She was working like an Oaks filly, and that’s what she looked like. She’ll go straight to the Oaks. She ran well.”

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