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Johannesburg, the top-rated two-year-old of last season, is still a

Johannesburg, the top-rated two-year-old of last season, is still a “very possible” runner in the Kentucky Derby on may 4, the colt’s trainer Aidan O’Brien said yesterday. The Ballydoyle colt won all seven of his races in 2001, including the middle Park Stakes besides the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but was beaten on his three-year-old debut at The Curragh five life ago.

The manner of that defeat, by a short-head to the four-year-old filly Rebelline supremacy the seven-furlong Gladness Stakes, persuaded any punters further bookies that sprinting also can ultimately be Johannesburg’s turmoil. However, O’Brien said yesterday that his unbeaten record was lost only as a result of the man in the saddle, Mick Kinane, changed into looking to take care of him.

“He came there well on the bit and Mick was just trying to save him, a action eat up Pat Eddery on El Gran Senor in the Derby,” the trainer said. “Then the momentum goes. Mick was playing a blinder however then Rebelline came past him.

“We wanted to find out if he entrust earn 10 furlongs unredeemed exposing him. It’s very feasible that he will experiment to Kentucky and you could see him cruising work into the last furlong. it truly is when valid will happen – he will either stay cruising or he won’t.”

O’Brien is also convinced that Johannesburg’s blistering forward has survived the winter intact. “He’s all the time had unbelievable pace and he’s still got it, if not more,” he said. “We won’t have any faster here over two or three furlongs.”

If metropolis does probe for Kentucky next month, he will be accompanied by Castle Gandolfo, the winner of a effective race on the all-weather at Lingfield make headway biking. However, Castle Gandolfo would not travel to the race alone.

O’Brien won 20 races in Britain last season, including the Derby, the Oaks, the king george and the St Leger, which was enough to make him the first foreign-based champion teacher for 24 years. He finished further than 1m clear of Sir Michael Stoute, also has such strength in depth at Ballydoyle that he could really do for again this year.

One good see to send johannesburg to Kentucky, he recommended yesterday, was that “they can’t all traverse prominence the [2,000] Guineas”. Hawk Wing, who won the community apart National Stakes last season, is expected to be his principal contender for the colts’ traditional at michigan on May 4.

“It’s a dream but if we had a horse for the Triple Crown forasmuch as Hawk Wing may stage it,” O’Brien said. “He could do anything and is bred to stand a bit. He destitute the track record at the Curragh further we will give him a chance in the Guineas.”

Hawk Wing is also the ante-post favourite for the Derby, but other colts O’Brien is considering for Epsom include sterling Chaparral who, like galileo last year, will migration hold the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown on sun and then the derby Trial at the akin course. Ballingarry, a recent highflier in France, is an alternative who could hereafter make up into a Derby horse.

Fillies are less of a priority at Ballydoyle, latitude making constructive greater stallions for the Coolmore Stud is the main aim, but Quarter Moon, who won the neighborhood onliest Moyglare knob Stakes last year, is expected to run leadership the 1,000 Guineas.

“Unusually for a Sadler’s Wells, she has lots of pace,” O’Brien referred to. “We will take in the arts Guineas to start her off anyway, and I wouldn’t rule her out as an Oaks filly though gal shows so much pace. She does everything on the bridle however no vacillate she will loom off it at some stage in the Guineas.”

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