Clondaw Warrior (second right): won the Galway Hurdle last time out
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos
By Peter Scargill 10:27AM 13 AUG 2016
Preview: USA, Saturday 9.05pm BST (ATR/RUK)
Arlington Park: American St. Leger (Grade 3) 1m5½f, turf, 3yo+
CLONDAW WARRIOR is about as alien as a horse could be to US racefans and the remarkable nine-year-old could yet shock them further by landing the American St Leger.
While his age is one thing certain to catch the attention of the US public, Clondaw Warrior‘s preparation and history is another thing entirely. He started life running in point-to-points at Limavady and Maralin in Ireland, and won the Galway Hurdle under a superb Ruby Walsh ride most recently.
In between, Clondaw Warrior has won over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot and came close to scoring over not far off three miles in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. His victories have come on good to firm to soft and he looks as formidable as ever approaching his tenth birthday.
It should come as little surprise the trip to the US has caused no concern to Clondaw Warrior. However, trainer Willie Mullins is worried the temperature in Chicago could prove to be on the warm side for his runner.
He said: “The horse travelled over well and has settled in well. There are four supplementary entries for the race so it’s going to be a tougher assignment than we first thought. Also, it looks as if temperatures will be over 30C, which won’t help.”
O’Brien seeks Grade 1 glory
While the sight of Mullins and Clondaw Warrior in the US will be an unusual one, the figure of Aidan O’Brien is well known across the pond and he has strong contenders for both the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes (9.43) and Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes (10.21).
With Deauville contesting the Arlington Million for O’Brien, Long Island Sound, who finished sixth to his stablemate in the Belmont Derby last time, will represent the Ballydoyle maestro in the Secretariat.
O’Brien said: “He was just under three lengths behind Deauville at Belmont last time. It was a very good run and we’ve been happy with him since. He seems to be progressing all the time.”
The pair ran contrasting races at Belmont last time with Coolmore excelling herself to finish third in the Belmont Oaks, while Ballydoyle trailed home last.
“Ballydoyle has a good draw in stall one. She was a bit slow away at Belmont last time and Colm [O’Donoghue], who rode her, said she slipped a bit on the bend into the straight before he eased her.
“We’re happy with her and with Coolmore, who ran well when third in the same Belmont race.”