Saxon Warrior Remains Unbeaten To Take Lead On European Road To The Kentucky Derby

Saxon Warrior kept his unbeaten record intact and provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with his 17th victory in the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at Naas. The Beresford is the first race in the “European Road To The Kentucky Derby,  a stand-alone series of seven races that is separate from America’s 35-race “Road to the Kentucky Derby” sequence. Only one position in the Kentucky Derby starting gate will be awarded to the horse that accrues the most points in the “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” and accepts an invitation to compete.

The County Tipperary handler had claimed the prestigious juvenile prize on a remarkable 16 occasions in the last 21 years, with Septimus (2005), St Nicholas Abbey (2009) and last year’s hero Capri among those on the roll of honour for Ballydoyle.

Saxon Warrior, a son of Japanese superstar Deep Impact, created a huge impression on his racecourse debut at the Curragh a month ago and was all the rage as the 5-6 favourite to follow up in the Group Two event under Ryan Moore.

Kew Gardens, a stablemate of the winner, took the five-strong field along for much of the one-mile journey before Saxon Warrior hit the front a furlong out.

Another Ballydoyle inmate Delano Roosevelt and Brendan Duke’s pride and joy Warm The Voice battled it out down the centre of the track, but neither could lay a glove on Saxon Warrior, who was pushed out to score a shade cosily by two and a half lengths.

Delano Roosevelt just beat Warm The Voice to the runner-up spot, with Kew Gardens not far away in fourth and Riyazan last of the five.

O’Brien said: “We’re delighted with him. He had a lovely run at the Curragh the first day. Donnacha (O’Brien) rode him and he loved him.

“We thought he was a nice colt before he ran at the Curragh, but we felt that he was just ready to go racing. When Donnacha eased him out he took off and he had to be a good colt to do what he did.

“You’re never sure until they run again, but it was a competitive race today and Ryan was delighted with him.

“Ryan felt he would be better on better ground. We were worried about the heavy ground today, but he handled it and quickened well.

“It’s possible (he’ll run again this season). It’s not definite. He probably knows enough if he doesn’t run any more, but it’s possible.

“He has the pedigree on top and bottom, so you couldn’t be happier with him. We always thought he could step up in trip. I think Ryan was impressed by the way he travelled and the way he quickened.”

Of Delano Roosevelt and Kew Gardens, the trainer added: “Both of them ran very good races. They’re two solid horses who are both going to be lovely middle-distance horses next year.”

The other 2-year-old races on the “European Road to the Kentucky” are the Sept. 30 Juddmonte Royal Lodge (G2) at England’s Newmarket Racecourse; the Oct. 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (G1) on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe undercard at France’s Chantilly Racecourse; and the Oct. 28 Racing Post Trophy (G1) at England’s Doncaster Racecourse.

Two one-mile races for 3-year-olds in early March over synthetic “all weather” racing surfaces – the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes at England’s Kempton Park Racecourse on March 1 and the Patton Stakes (Listed) at Ireland’s Dundalk Stadium on March 2 – will be awarded points on a scale of 20-8-4-2.

The series will climax March 30 with the one-mile Burradon Stakes at England’s Newcastle Racecourse, in which points will increase to 30-12-6-3 for the Top 4 finishers.

The post Saxon Warrior Remains Unbeaten To Take Lead On European Road To The Kentucky Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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