Saxon Warrior seals Group One winners record for Aidan O’Brien at Doncaster
Saxon Warrior won the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster to earn Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien the world record for the number of top-level wins in a Flat racing year.
Ridden by Ryan Moore, the race favourite beat Roaring Lion in a close finish with The Pentagon, another O’Brien-trained colt, coming in third.
Having drawn level with the 14 year record of the great USA trainer Bobby Frankel last weekend by virtue of Hydrangea’s victory at the British Champions Day at Ascot, the narrow success in the day’s big race at Doncaster was O’Brien’s 26th top-level winner of the year.
However both horse and jockey had to show some resolve to clinch the record by fighting off the attentions of the determined Roaring Lion. The John Gosden-trained star had looked set to spoil the party and was on course to triumph at one stage but was ultimately beaten by a neck.
In fact Saxon Warrior had a couple of mini-battles to win as Verbal Dexterity, trained by O’Brien’s mentor Jim Bolger, came to challenge on the far side before fading to an eventual fourth. Then it was Roaring Lion, ridden by Oisin Murphy, who swept round to the outside to launch his own assault.
However Moore typically used all his experience to bring Saxon Warrior back into contention in the latter stages and guide his mount home albeit by a fine margin.
Speaking after the race, O’Brien said “It’s a fantastic team effort and I’ve been very privileged to work with the people I have – Annemarie, the kids and all the team at home have been brilliant.
“Every Group One is hard to win, we don’t expect to win them and we’ve been very lucky to win what we have. I thought John’s horse had him at one stage, but Ryan’s given Saxon Warrior a great ride and he’s battled back, which is a really promising sign.”
O’Brien will have further opportunities to add to his historic 26 winners, with another 22 Group One races remaining before the end of the year.
And he had hoped to start that pursuit today at Saint-Cloud in France where two Group One races – the Criterium de Saint-Cloud and Criterium International – were scheduled in which O’Brien had a combined five chances. However the meeting was abandoned before the start of the second race on the card as protesters blocked the entrance to the parade ring.