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Aidan O’Brien Confirms Turf Assignment For Luxembourg



[Saudi Cup Official Release] Aidan O’Brien has swerved a first dirt start for Luxembourg next weekend, taking the son of Camelot out of the G1 Saudi Cup field and instead aiming him at the G2 Howden Neom Turf Cup.


Despite initially appearing in the 1800m $20m Saudi Cup Likely Fields as a first runner in the world’s most valuable race for Ballydoyle since Magic Wand in 2020, O’Brien has now opted to give the G1 Hong Kong Cup runner-up a more familiar assignment over 2100m on turf.


O’Brien said: “It’s his first run back after a little break and we just felt it was going to be too tough a race to pitch him into for his first time on dirt. The competition is very strong, and he’s never run on the surface before, so we thought it was a bit too much to ask of him. The Neom Turf Cup will suit him better.”


The five-year-old was last seen in early December, battling hard to earn a close-up silver medal behind Romantic Warrior and O’Brien feels he’s ready for his next international assignment in Riyadh on February 24.


“We’ve been very happy with him since Hong Kong,” he said. “It was the first time he’d been on a long trip abroad and he ran a great race and took the travel very well. We were very pleased with the run, and he’s been in good form since. Hopefully, he runs well in the Neom Turf Cup and maybe that opens up the option of Dubai. He could be a horse that travels a lot over the coming year. He’s got a very high level of form and some solid foundations to build from.”


Elaborating further on the decision to opt for turf over dirt, O’Brien explained: “The Neom Turf Cup looks ideal. Everyone has been very complimentary about the track in Riyadh, and we think it’s a track that will really suit him, and obviously the prize money is very good, so we had to consider it. The Saudi Cup meeting is a very important festival now and it’s great to be going there with a couple of good chances.”


O’Brien is also set to field Tower Of London in the 3000m G3 Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap, which will be the four-year-old’s first run since September.


“Tower Of London has had a good long break all winter,” said the trainer. “We’ve aimed him at the Red Sea Turf as we think both the trip and nice ground will really suit him. We certainly think he’s a horse that’s going to progress a lot this season, so he could be a horse that goes onto Dubai after this.”



(19/2/2024)

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