The countdown to the 2018 Melbourne Cup at Flemington racecourse continues and the recent news concerning an international raider was welcome to trainer Aidan O’Brien.
His horse Kew Gardens gave O’Brien his sixth victory in the Group 1 St. Leger at England’s Doncaster racecourse. The four-year-old bay by Galileo from Chelsea Rose is doing all right, thank you, winning five and placing four times in 12 starts. The race is a handicap, like the Melbourne Cup and is run over a distinctly British distance that equates to 2,917 metres.
In his prior race, Kew Gardens was third and in July of 2018, he won a Group 1 in France, the GP De Paris (2400 m), so it would seem that O’Brien has a steady stayer ready to go for The Race That Stops A Nation.
O’Brien was delighted to see Kew Gardens win a Classic and he told ITV Racing, “We couldn’t be happier with him. He’s a horse that’s progressed lovely. We saw what he did in (Ascot) and we were delighted with him in France. We always thought he was a horse that would stay well and we thought the distance would suit him. He has a lot of class and we’re over the moon really.”
What would they be over if Kew Gardens was to win the Melbourne Cup? A new phrase would be needed. Over Mars, perhaps? We do not see that one catching on.
O’Brien’s horse Capri won the St. Leger last year. Capri is by the same sire and the line is lifting jockey Ryan Moore.
Of Kew Gardens, Moore said, “It was very smooth. He’s a very uncomplicated horse and he tries very hard. He’s got a great attitude to life and he picked up really well. He’s a super horse.”
The officials have given Kew Gardens 53 kg for the Melbourne Cup. Ladbrokes has the horse on offer at $26, equal to Latrobe, Marmelo, Max Dynamite and Tosen Basil.