Aidan’s Latest Superstar

August 8th, 2016 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

He’s at it again.

Following the success of Caravaggio in Sunday’s Phoenix Stakes Aidan O’Brien found a new superlative to describe the colt, this time stating that they had never before had a horse at Ballydoyle “hit a top speed of 45 mph”, adding that he thought the previous fastest was “around 42 mph”.

Such is the speed the colt shows that he will probably be confined to six furlongs this season, with the Prix Morny at Deauville a week on Sunday and the Middle Park favoured over the Dewhurst in the autumn.

No mention was made of stable-companion Churchill, who is a different type of colt altogether. He is more workmanlike in his races, having shown plenty of determination to win the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and then a Group 3 at Leopardstown. He is bred more along miling lines and may end up being the yard’s first string for the 2,000 Guineas, especially if Caravaggio indicates that he is still as speedy in his work next spring.

Paddy Power are a stand-out 4/1 on Caravaggio for the Guineas, with other firms as short as 5/2, while Churchill is at 8/1. At the odds I would rather be on Churchill.

Aidan can act like a kid on Christmas morning at times – perhaps an indication that his glowing reports about his latest stars are heartfelt and sincere – but there was a timely reminder that it’s the horse that has the last word just half-an-hour later when Air Force Blue was again soundly beaten in the 6f Group 3 Phoenix Spring Stakes.

Down in grade, and racing over his best trip on his preferred fast ground, he never got competitive and finished an eased down and distant last.

The presence of a tongue-tie in the 2,000 Guineas, and again here, was a clue that the colt may have a problem. I had suggested there may be something untowards in the Dark Horses Annual, noting that he hung on occasions. Air Force Blue had apparently recorded unbelievably good fractions in his work at home but apart from a little flurry in the July Cup, where he stayed on well despite not getting the best of runs, he has not looked right in his other three starts.

Air Force Blue would not be the first son of War Front not to train on at three, and I will continue to have doubts about the sire’s progeny, who often impress in their early days before losing their form.

I am away in Ireland tonight for the National Hunt Store Sales, but will be back in the evening to allow a clear day on Wednesday for the Weekend Card work.

Bye for now