Caravaggio won the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes earlier this month
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Keith Melrose & Tony O’Hehir 5:05PM 28 AUG 2016
AIDAN O’BRIEN has revealed star juvenile Caravaggio has suffered a minor injury that may prevent him from running in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes on September 24.
The trainer said: “Caravaggio has had a slight setback. He pulled a muscle in his ribcage about ten days ago and while he is fine now, we’re not sure yet whether he will go to the Middle Park.”
O’Brien announced the news after Intelligence Cross won the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday and added: “Intelligence Cross might go for that race [Middle Park] instead.
“He was due to run at York but we took him out when the ground changed. Once the ground started drying out here we decided to run him and he’s won nicely.”
Middle Park muddied
Caravaggio shot to the top of the betting for next year’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas after winning the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in impressive fashion. He then landed a first Group 1 earlier this month when cruising to a four-length success in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
A clash with Lady Aurelia, the impressive Albany Stakes winner, was mooted in the Prix Morny, but O’Brien revealed in the week leading up to the race that Newmarket was the preferred option.
However, Sunday’s development has caused significant confusion in Middle Park’s ante-post market. Paddy Power, the only major bookmaker to still have prices available on the Middle Park on Sunday evening, eased Caravaggio to 5-2 (from 4-7). He is now second-favourite behind Godolphin’s impressive Gimcrack Stakes winner Blue Point, who is 2-1 (from 5-1).
New face on the scene
Intelligence Cross put himself firmly in the picture for Group 1 honours when cruising to a four-and-a-quarter length success at the Curragh on Sunday over Holy Cat, looking in a different league to Group 3 opposition.
Previously put in his place by Mehmas in both the Arqana July Stakes and Qatar Richmond Stakes, Intelligence Cross was introduced by Paddy Power as a 6-1 chance for the Middle Park, having been 20-1 with other firms earlier in the day.
The effect on the market for next year’s Guineas has been less significant. Caravaggio is 9-2 (from 4-1) with Betfred, while Intelligence Cross was cut with most firms but remains available at 25-1.