O’Brien To Ship Trio Of Contenders For Belmont Oaks, Derby

Trainer Aidan O’Brien will be represented by multiple group winner Just Wonderful in the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational and Blenheim Palace and Cape of Good Hope in next Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational as the first legs of the newly-minted Turf Triple series gets underway.

Just Wonderful, a bay daughter of Dansili out of the Montjeu mare Wading, captured the Group 3 Flame of Tara Irish E.B.F. at the Curragh in September and two starts later was victorious in the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel at Newmarket. She completed her 2-year-old campaign with a good fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Winless in three sophomore starts, including an eighth last out in the Group 1 Coronation at Ascot, Just Wonderful comes from the same family as last year’s Belmont Oaks-winner Athena.

Blenheim Palace, by Galileo and out of the Storm Cat dam Meow, is a full brother to stallion and four-time Group 1-winner Churchill, who was the top-rated 2-year-old colt in Europe in 2016. Blenheim Palace graduated in April over 10 furlongs of soft turf at Navan and followed up with a second in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown at the same distance on yielding turf.

On Saturday, the talented chestnut finished a strong second in the Group 3 Full of Surprises International at the Curragh over 1 1/4-miles of good going. The quick turnback echoes O’Brien’s success in last year’s Belmont Oaks with Athena, who finished third in the Group 1 Pretty Polly just six days before her Belmont Oaks triumph.

Cape of Good Hope, a full-brother to world-travelling multiple Group/Grade 1-winner Highland Reel, graduated in April over 10 furlongs of good going at Epsom. After finishing fourth on June 2 in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club, Cape of Good Hope followed up on June 20 with a an off-the-board effort in the Group 3 Hampton Court on soft turf at Ascot.

The O’Brien contingent is slated to arrive in New York on Tuesday and clear quarantine for training on July 4.

The post O’Brien To Ship Trio Of Contenders For Belmont Oaks, Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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