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Posted 2024-05-04 21:03:19  
O'Brien at loss for words after Guineas Flop

Aidan O’Brien found himself at a loss for immediate explanations as City Of Troy's hopes were dashed in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The offspring of American Triple Crown champion Justify dominated the scene as a juvenile last season, triumphing at the Curragh on debut before consecutive victories at Newmarket in both the Superlative Stakes on the July Course and the Dewhurst on the Rowley Mile.

O’Brien, renowned for his remarkable Classic successes including 10 2000 Guineas wins and nine Derbys, has consistently expressed his high regard for City Of Troy, declaring after the Dewhurst triumph: "We’ve never had a horse like him, that’s the way it is – he is the best two-year-old we’ve trained, there’s no doubt."

Despite a seemingly smooth preparation for his three-year-old debut, anticipation swirled around City Of Troy as he paraded at Newmarket, aiming to emulate Frankel as an odds-on favorite in the 2000 Guineas for the first time since 13 years.

However, while Frankel delivered a historic performance, City Of Troy, priced at 4-6, became agitated in the starting stalls. Although he broke swiftly to seize an early lead, his struggle to maintain the pace became evident midway through the race, ultimately fading to ninth out of 11 runners.

"He got upset in the stalls before, which he never did before, then he jumped and Ryan just said the pace was on and he was in the middle of the pace and he just flattened on his first run," O’Brien remarked.

"We’ll see, it was unusual he got upset in the stalls because he was very happy before. He was in last, but he wasn’t in last by design, that’s just the way the stall things fell.

“There’s no doubt about that (the run was too bad to be true), he wasn’t over-blowing. We’ll take him home and see, sorry about that.

“Of course (I’m shocked), obviously we wouldn’t be here if we thought he was going to do that. Obviously it’s not his run and we’ll see what happened and why it happened.”

While City Of Troy's aspirations for Triple Crown glory have been dashed, O’Brien finds solace in the example of Auguste Rodin, who bounced back from disappointment in the 2000 Guineas to claim Derby triumphs.

Richard Hannon, trainer of Rosallion and Haatem, expressed mixed feelings after their respective second and third-place finishes.

Hannon had high hopes for Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Rosallion, who traveled strongly for much of the race before conceding victory to Notable Speech. Haatem, winner of the Craven Stakes, also put in a commendable performance to secure third place.

“Both my horses ran great races, I’m disappointed to get beaten but you can’t be disappointed by how they ran," Hannon commented.

“It’s probably one of the best Guineas there’s been for 10 years and both of my horses have shown they’re Group One horses – one (Rosallion) has won a Group One and the other one will, so there’s a lot to look forward to.”

Image: Sun

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